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Execution figures highest in 40 years

December 4, 1996
Web posted at: 9:45 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- More death row inmates were executed in the United States last year than in any year since 1957, according to a study released Wednesday by the Justice Department.

Fifty-six convicted murderers, all men, were put to death in 1995, compared with 65 executions 38 years ago. Of the men executed last year, 31 were white, 22 were black, two were Hispanic and one was Asian.

The 1995 executions were confined to 16 states, with Texas having the most at 19. The average length of time on death row for those executed was 11 years, two months.

More than 3,000 inmates, ranging in age from 18 to 80 and including 48 women, are currently awaiting execution. More than one third are in only three states -- California, Texas and Florida.

The number of executions, while rising, is still lower than in the 1930s, when at least 120 executions -- and in some years nearly 200 -- occurred annually, the government study said.

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