Policy Analysis | August 2015

Death Row Prisoners

Lauren Greer

On December 31, 2013, the most recent date for which data is available, 35 states and the federal government held prisoners who had been sentenced to death. The table below shows how many prisoners were currently being held under sentence of death by state or federal jurisdiction as of December 31, 2013, and the average number of years those prisoners had been on death row since sentenced. The total includes prisoners sentenced between 1974 and 2013, who remain sentenced to death. It should be noted that not all of these prisoners will be executed given that some may die while in custody, have their sentence commuted, or have their sentence overturned.

Total Prisoners and Average Number of Years under Sentence of Death by State (12/31/13)

State Total Prisoners Under Sentence of Death Average Number of Years Under Sentence of Death
Alabama 190 12.4
Arkansas 37 14.7
Florida 398 15
Georgia 82 15.5
Kentucky 33 18.3
Louisiana 84 14
Mississippi 50 13
Missouri 45 12.4
North Carolina 151 15.1
South Carolina 45 12
Tennessee 75 18.4
Texas 273 13
Virginia 7 *
Federal 56 93.1
United States 2,979 14.6

Note: West Virginia abolished the death penalty in 1965.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Prisoner Statistics Program, 2013.