Listen to this story



Did you know that some states in the US still allow the death penalty?

Veronica Morao
4 min read
Did you know that some states in the US still allow the death penalty?
Bed used for death row

The death penalty, or capital punishment, is authorized in 27 US states.

Likewise, the Federal Government, together with the Armed Forces of the United States, are able to apply the measure to all those criminals established in the legislation.

The Supreme Court was in charge of sentencing, on March 9 of this year, to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, involved in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

In the year 2021, 11 executions were carried out. According to the results of the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), they were carried out mostly by the federal government and the state of Texas.

Although it is authorized, different organizations criticize this measure. Mainly the International Federation for Human Rights.

Punishments with the death penalty

The detainees are placed on death row. Those found guilty of murder will be executed.

In some states, those who have participated in a serious crime, in which a person has died, are considered guilty. These are accused and executed, despite not having directly killed anyone.

Subnational entities that allow the death penalty

  • Arkansas

  • Alabama

  • Arizona

  • North Carolina

  • South Carolina

  • California

  • Florida

  • South Dakota

  • Georgia

  • Indiana

  • Idaho

  • Kentucky

  • Kansas

  • Louisiana

  • Missouri

  • Mississippi

  • Nebraska

  • Mountain

  • Nevada

  • Oregon

  • Ohio

  • Pennsylvania

  • Oklahoma

  • Tennessee

  • Utah

  • Texas

  • Wyoming

States that have applied the death penalty in the US

The death penalty was reinstated in 1976 in the United States. Until February 2022, only five entities have carried out the execution to a greater extent.

  • Texas: 573

  • Okla.: 116

  • Virginia: 113

  • Florida: 99

  • Missouri: 91

Permitted Methods in the Death Penalty Process

Despite the fact that the Supreme Court detailed that certain processes are unconstitutional, these have been declared by the state courts.

Lethal injection

Through the intravenous route, a continuous lethal amount of mixed drugs is injected, which progressively generate unconsciousness, respiratory paralysis and finally cardiac arrest.

This is licensed in: Arkansas, Arizona, Alabama, California, Georgia, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Dakota South, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Wyoming, Utah. In addition, this procedure can be carried out by the Army and the federal government of the United States.


This is a visibly destructive process, since the internal organs of the body are burned, when current is applied. On some occasions, the person jumps forward, which is why in this process he is completely tied up.

This measure can be applied in: Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Mississippi.

The Nebraska and Georgia Supreme Courts ruled that this is a method that violates both states' constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.

In Virginia it had been allowed in special cases. However, this death penalty was repealed in March 2021.

lethal gas

This procedure is the most dangerous, the most expensive and the most complicated, in the administration of the death penalty. For this, the person is tied to a chair located inside an airtight chamber, which is later sealed.

This method is performed in: Arizona, Alabama, Mississippi, California, Oklahoma, Missouri and Wyoming.

firing squad

This execution is carried out in a semi-dark camera, generally enabled in the prison. The members of the platoon are volunteers who come forward, especially from the place where the crime was committed.

It is licensed in just four states: Oklahoma, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Utah.


The set of three beams or sticks is called gallows. In this the executions of the people who are sentenced to this penalty are carried out, since they are hung by the neck.

It is legal in New Hampshire, Delaware, and Washington. New Hampshire, however, repealed the sanction in 2019.

Repeal of the death penalty in the United States

  • Michigan (1846)

  • Wisconsin (1853)

  • Maine (1887)

  • Minnesota (1911)

  • Iowa (1965)

  • Hawaii (1957)

  • Alaska (1957)

  • Vermont (1964)

  • West Virginia (1965)

  • North Dakota (1973)

  • District of Columbia (1981)

  • Rhode Island (1984)

  • Massachusetts (1984)

  • New Jersey (2007)

  • New York (2007)

  • New Mexico (2009)

  • Illinois (2011)

  • Connecticut (2012)

  • MD (2013)

  • Delaware (2016)

  • Washington (2018)

  • New Hampshire (2019)

  • Colorado (2020)

  • Virginia (2021)

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, between 1973 and 2011, the cost of the death penalty rose to some 25 billion, taking into account that the equivalent of one billion in English is equivalent to one billion in Spanish.