Helms School of Government


Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MS)


Gregory Koehle


Death Row, Death Penalty, Capital Punishment, Race


Social and Behavioral Sciences


The death penalty is the highest form of capital sentencing and punishment in the United States. Since 1973, a little less than half of U.S. states are responsible for passing death sentences and executions. Nevertheless, the growing number of death row inmates is at an all-time high since the late 70s (DPIC, 2022). Although academia and scholarly research has advanced the general understanding of death penalty sentencing, racial disparities resulting in a death sentence and execution has not been studied as comprehensively. Despite the strides in progress made by academia and scholarly research on the death penalty, there are areas in need of examination. The growing rate of death row inmates awaiting execution is cause for concern for families of the offenders and victims. Delaying the execution of death row inmates further impedes justice for the victims and their families. It is crucial to understand the importance of certain descriptive statistics that were present and influenced death row inmate retention. The study presented findings that illustrated a waiting period for death row inmates. These correlations expanded the assertion that the waiting period has increased since 1973 and the relationship between race and death row intersects. The waiting period of death row inmates was examined carefully but further research is needed to expand upon the assertions of this study. Ultimately, further research can be used to reform the administration of capital sentencing and punishment.