Talking about capital punishment in the U.S. hides a significant amount of variation. While the death penalty is technically available in most states, its use is very uneven. In many states where the death penalty is legal, prosecutors rarely push for it, and the vast majority of death penalty sentences are never actually carried out (for instance, notice that while over 700 people are currently on death row in California, the state has a much lower number of executions since 1976 than many other states). The exception is the South, which accounts for a disproportionate number of death penalty sentences and carries out such sentences at a much higher rate than other states. (via Sociological Images)

Talking about capital punishment in the U.S. hides a significant amount of variation. While the death penalty is technically available in most states, its use is very uneven. In many states where the death penalty is legal, prosecutors rarely push for it, and the vast majority of death penalty sentences are never actually carried out (for instance, notice that while over 700 people are currently on death row in California, the state has a much lower number of executions since 1976 than many other states). The exception is the South, which accounts for a disproportionate number of death penalty sentences and carries out such sentences at a much higher rate than other states. (via Sociological Images)