In the United States, there are roughly 3000 inmates on death row awaiting execution and each individual inmate waits 15 years on average for their execution to be carried out. Nearly 25% of these inmates pass away of natural causes before their sentence can be carried out. But how many states actually employ the death penalty, and which ones?
It may surprise those interested in this topic to learn that there are only 19 states that do not use the death penalty. And while Mississippi does use the death penalty, it was revealed in April 2017 that this state is considering bringing back execution by means of firing squad, the gas chamber, and electric chair should they not be allowed to use lethal injection due to a court’s decision.
The states that still use the death penalty are as follows:
Wyoming, Washington, Virginia, Utah, Texas, South Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Oregon, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Nevada, Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Idaho, Georgia, Florida, California, Colorado, Arizona, Arkansas, and Alabama.
All of these states use lethal injection as a means of executing inmates on death row, but the protocols do differ from state to state. Some states choose to use only one drug during execution, while others may use two or three.
When the three drug protocol is used, the inmate sentenced to death is injected first with a sedative or anesthetic. This is followed by an injection of pancuronium bromide, and then finally potassium chloride. This will paralyze the inmate and then stop their heart, causing death.
In conclusion, there are more states that use the death penalty than those who do not. And while each inmate waits a considerable amount of time (on average) before getting their execution carried out, the country has shown that they stand behind the death penalty and will continue to do so as a whole.