Tuesday, August 14, 2007

2005: last country stops executing children

No, it wasn't Rwanda or North Korea or Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia or Albania or Haiti.

It was the good old USA.

In March of 2005, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the execution of juvenile offenders was unconstitutional, outlawing the practice. The United States had previously been a world leader in juvenile executions.

"Though it remains a national shame that the United States was the last country to formally reject executing juvenile offenders, we applaud the Supreme Court's ruling and hope it proves to be a harbinger of things to come in this country," said Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, Amnesty International USA's Director of the Program to Abolish the Death Penalty.

The 60 prisoners executed in the United States in 2005 brought to 1,004 the total number executed since the use of the death penalty resumed in 1977. Approximately 3,400 prisoners were on death rows across the United States as of January 1, 2006. The death penalty is on the books in 38 states and is retained under military and federal law. (Info from The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty)

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