INSTITUTE INDEX: The South's execution lust puts it in rare and brutal company

A new report by Amnesty International shows that the United States is among the few countries worldwide that still carry out the death penalty, and that the South still leads the nation in state-sanctioned killings.

Of the 206 countries around the world, number in which executions were known to have taken place in 2013: 22

Number of executions that took place worldwide last year: 778

Percent increase that represents over 2012: almost 15

Number of countries that executed more people than the United States in 2013: 4*

Number of countries in the Americas besides the United States that carried out executions last year: 0

Besides the United States, number of other countries worldwide that have continuously executed people in each of the past five years: 8**

Of the 56 member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, number besides the United States that carried out executions in 2013: 0

Besides the United States, number of G8 nations that carried out executions in 2013: 1***

Number of executions carried out in the United States in 2013: 39

Percent drop in executions in the U.S. from 2012 to 2013: 10

Number of U.S. states where executions took place last year: 9

Of those nine states, number in the South: 5

Percent of all U.S. executions carried out in Texas in 2013: 41

Percentage point increase that represents over the previous year: 7

Number of U.S. states that have abolished the death penalty to date: 18

Number of those abolitionist states that are in the South: 1****

Date on which the United Nations Human Rights Committee approved a report expressing concern about racial disparities in the administration of the death penalty disproportionately affecting African Americans: 3/26/2014

Number of studies that have concluded that defendants who kill whites are more likely to be sentenced to death than those who kill blacks: more than 20

Correlations between the death penalty and decreasing crime rate: 0

* China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

** Besides the United States, they are Bangladesh, China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen.

*** Japan was the only other G8 member besides the United States to execute someone in 2013.

**** West Virginia.

(Click on figure to go to source. Most of the numbers in this index are from "Death Sentences and Executions 2013," released this week by Amnesty International.)