Capital punishment seems to be dying a slow death in the US. As public sentiment shifts toward life sentences, the number of death sentences has dropped 60% since the mid-'90s and the number of executions has fallen 46% since 1999, reports the Economist. Then there’s Texas, which has carried out some 40% of the nation's 1,000 executions since 1976.
Of the three main arguments supporting capital punishment—deterrence, religious "eye for an eye" retaliation, and a lower cost compared with life imprisonment—evidence for the first is sketchy and the last is no longer true. Recent evidence that even lethal injection can be excruciatingly painful and a rash of vindications of men on death row is also reshaping public opinion.