6% of death row inmates globally are in U.S. prisons according to Amnesty International
The number of capital punishment executions carried out globally surged in 2015 to the highest in 25 years, according to a new report published by UK-based human rights group Amnesty International.
Executions worldwide rose by 54% from the previous year, to at least 1,634 people.
The rights group expects a large number of carried out capital punishments in China, but this is an estimate because death penalty numbers are kept secret by the Chinese government.
But at the same time as a marked increase in some parts of the world, other countries abolished capital punishment altogether in 2015. Fiji, Madagascar, Republic of Congo and Suriname passed laws outlawing the death penalty, with another such law in Mongolia set for implementation later in 2016.
Equally encouraging is the fact that for the first time in history, the death penalty is outlawed in 102 countries, a majority of the globe.
Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General noted the clear “long-term trend,” despite “the short-term setbacks.”
“… the world is moving away from the death penalty. Those countries that still execute need to realize that they are on the wrong side of history and abolish the ultimate cruel and inhuman form of punishment,” Shetty added.
In a CNN oped, Shetty notes that abolitionist countries—those that have outlawed capital punishment—have risen steadily since 1945, the year the United Nations was conceived.
Every country but 8 utilized capital punishment in 1945 while “today, this number stands at 102 countries, with more on the cusp of doing so,” Shetty writes.
At the end of 2015, there were some 20,292 prisoners globally sitting on death row. At the same point, the United States held 2,943 inmates on death row, according to a winter 2016 report issued by the Criminal Justice Project of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
6% of the global total of inmates on death row are in the United States—the U.S. also has the largest total prison population of any nation in the world.
28 people were executed by the U.S. last year, the lowest number since 1991 according to Amnesty.
Nevertheless, for the seventh consecutive year the United States was the only country in the Americas to carry out executions.
And while those on death row are almost evenly split between white and black, nearly half of the U.S. prison industrial complex population is African American.
1 in 3 African American males is imprisoned for life compared to 1 in 17 white males according to prison research and advocacy center The Sentencing Project.