- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Fourteen states executed 85 prisoners in 2000, 13 fewer than in 1999, the Justice Department said yesterday.
The executed prisoners, including 83 men and 2 women, spent an average of 11 years and 5 months on death row, 6 months less than those executed in 1999, according to a report released by the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).
According to the report, those executed included 43 whites, 35 blacks, 6 Hispanics and 1 American Indian. Eighty of the executions were by lethal injection and 5 by electrocution. Twenty-one states authorized lethal injections in 1990, which increased to 36 states by 2000.
Texas executed 40 persons in 2000, Oklahoma 11, Virginia 8, Florida 6, Missouri 5, Alabama 4, Arizona 3 and Arkansas 2. Six other states, including California, each executed one person in 2000.
At year-end 2000, 37 of 38 states with capital punishment and the federal government held 3,539 men and 54 women on death row, the report said. California had the most (586), followed by Texas (450), Florida (371) and Pennsylvania (238). The federal system has 18 inmates on death row.
Between 1990 and 2000, the number of inmates sentenced to death increased 52 percent, a period in which prison populations nationwide grew by 79 percent.
One hundred percent of death-row inmates convicted prior to Dec. 31, 2000, had committed murder and most had a prior criminal record, according to available data. Sixty-four percent had a prior felony conviction and 8 percent had been convicted of a prior homicide.
Among the 6,588 persons under sentence of death since the Supreme Court reaffirmed the death penalty in 1976, about 10 percent have been executed. Thirty-five percent had the death sentence commuted, overturned on appeal or died while incarcerated.
The average term served prior to execution since 1977 is 121 months; for those executed in 2000, the elapsed time from sentence to execution was 137 months. Just over 1 percent of death-row inmates had served more than 20 years at the end of 2000.
Justice department officials said that from Jan. 1, 1977, through Dec. 31, 2000, there were 683 executions in 31 states. Sixty-five percent of those executions were in five states: Texas (239), Virginia (81), Florida (50), Missouri (46) and Oklahoma (30).
Among the 683 executed since 1977, 518 were by lethal injection, 149 by electrocution, 11 by lethal gas, three by hanging (two in Washington state and one in Delaware) and two by firing squad (both in Utah).

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