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During His Waning Months in Office, Trump Increased Pace of Executions Even While the States Reduced Imposition of the Death Penalty

In 2020, the number of death sentences imposed within the US declined to their overall lowest since 1991, even despite Trump administration’s resurgence of the Federal death penalty.

The widespread pandemic was one reason for the decrease of executions. Seven prisoners were executed by the States since July, while a dozen or more inmates were killed through the Federal government’s system. Keep in mind that the vast majority of criminal prosecutions in this country are done by the States, not the Federal government.

Overall, 2020 saw one of the lowest overall totals of executions in over three decades by the States, but the highest by the Federal government, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Prior to the Trump’s administration, Presidents Bush and Obama had imposed an informal 17-year moratorium on capital punishment for Federal crimes.

Soon after Trump lost the election to Joe Biden, three prisoners were executed, and three more were due to be killed in the waning days of the Trump administration. All three deceased inmates were Black men, reflecting racial discrepancies that have long been observed within the Federal system. Likewise, half of those executed by the States are people of color, providing yet more proof of systemic racism.

President Biden has vowed to abolish the death penalty, recognizing that this barbaric practice serves no legitimate penological purpose and predominantly impacts persons of color, poor people, and those who are ill-educated or mentally impaired.

The death penalty has been rejected around the world and the time has arrived for the United States to do likewise.

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