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‘Out of Step’: Trump Rush to Carry Out Executions Sharply at Odds With US Trends

USA: Donald Trump is not only provoking fury among opponents in his race to complete a spate of federal executions in his last weeks in office. He is also rushing in the opposite direction from states across the US, which are increasingly rejecting the death penalty – as is the American public. While a majority of US states maintain the death penalty, and a majority of the public still supports it, the numbers of prisoners being killed and the amount of public support for executions continues to shrink, while the numbers of states giving up the penalty is increasing, fast. Ngozi Ndulue, senior director of research and special projects at the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), in Washington, DC, described the Trump administration’s hasty series of executions since the summer “a spree” that is “breathtaking”. “The federal government has shown itself to be out of step with the states and out of step with history,” she told the Guardian.

More Americans now oppose the death penalty than at any point in more than half a century, according to a Gallup survey published last month. A majority of Americans still favor executions for criminals convicted of murder, but the share, 55%, is at its lowest point since 1972, when 50% said they supported the practice. But the president and his attorney general, Bill Barr, revived federal executions last summer, after they had basically been on hold for 17 years, and are now rushing prisoners to the execution chamber. “We have to bring back the death penalty. They have to pay the ultimate price. They can’t do this. They can’t do this to our country,” Donald Trump has said.

Read more: Joanna Walters, Guardian,

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