The number of executions declined in the US this year amid drug shortages and growing concerns over the cost and fairness of death penalty cases, according to a new reportfrom the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization. The annual report, published Thursday, shows that there were 39 executions carried out in the US this year, down from the 43 that were carried out in both 2012 and 2011. This marks just the second time in 19 years that fewer than 40 people were executed on US soil.
So far, 80 people have been sentenced to death this year — two more than last year, but well below the historical high of 315 death sentences handed down in 1994 and 1996. The number of death sentences issued this year is the lowest since 1976, when the US Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment.