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DEATH PENALT AND MORALITY Capital Punishment is the legal infliction of the death penalty In the United States capital punishment is legal in thirty-nine of the fifty states Beginning in 1973 prison populations began an inevitable growth There were 204211 inmates in 1973 and by 1977 the number of prisoners had grown to 285456 which later grew to 315974 in 1980 By 1976 it was clear that the death penalty had to be reinstated Americas twenty-one year experiment with capital punishment has resulted in a total of 392 executions seventy eight of which took place in 1996 alone Of these only thirty-four were federal cases out of which thirty two were male and only two were female Every year about 15000 killers are charged and only about 300 wind up on death row The death row population is constantly increasing It is now more than 3000 Because of constant appeals it takes a person on death row typically between five to eight years to finally get executed To kill all the prisoners on death row it is estimated that it would take two executions a day for seven years Crimes such as aiding in suicide causing a boat collision resulting in death forced marriage procuring an abortion resulting in the death of the mother espionage castrating another rape homicide child molesting resulting in death and conspiracy to kidnap for ransom among many others are in some states crimes that are punishable by death What the law permits however is not always used by the courts or the executive authorities Most executions are a result of a murder or rape and a small number for robbery kidnapping burglary aggravated assault and espionage In the US the death penalty is currently authorized in one of five ways hanging which has been the traditional method of execution throughout the English-speaking world electrocution which was introduced by New York State in 1890
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