Death Row Inmates
Patti Ross Salinas
Capital punishment, or the use of death as the sentence to be carried out when someone has been convicted of a crime, is the harshest and most controversial sanction known to humankind. The use of the death penalty dates back to earliest civilizations, with the crucifixion of Christ being but one example. Amnesty International, an organization that opposes the use of capital punishment, reports that by 1999 over half of the countries in the world had abolished the death penalty. It reported that 85 percent of executions in 1999 took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the United States. In the United States, the death sentence has been used since the colonial period. Currently, thirty-eight states and the federal government permit execution for capital offenses. As the United States entered the twenty-first century, there were 3,527 death-sentenced individuals housed on death rows in ...