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Death penalty facts that may surprise you

By CNN Staff
updated 8:02 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Stats show U.S. executions have plummeted 60% since peaking in 1999
  • Most executions have been via lethal injection; some states have trouble obtaining the drugs
  • 56% of U.S. prisoners executed have been white, 34% have been African American
  • Statistics were compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center

CNN's original series "Death Row Stories" explores America's capital punishment system Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNN. Join the conversation about the death penalty at facebook.com/cnn or Twitter @CNNorigSeries using #DeathRowStories.

(CNN) -- 2014 has been an eventful year for several of America's death row inmates.

In Oklahoma, a botched lethal injection preceded a prisoner's death by heart attack.

In Ohio, a lethal injection of a new combination of drugs preceded the death of an inmate who reportedly gasped and convulsed before he died.

On Mississippi's death row, doubts about a woman's guilt delayed her execution and then led to a new trial.

In Louisiana, a man who faced a death sentence for 30 years was exonerated and set free.

These and other incidents are prompting many to take a fresh look at America's justice system and its use of the ultimate punishment. Some continue to support death as an option for the most terrible crimes. Others have come out against it.

In the infographic above, statistics by the Death Penalty Information Center offer a fascinating snapshot of executions in the United States, including how they're done, where they take place and how many prisoners are executed each year.

Click here to view on a mobile device.

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