The Death Penalty Worldwide Database tracks the laws and practices of capital punishment in every country that retains it. Our goals are to ensure transparency in the documentation of human rights violations and to track the evolution of international norms relating to the death penalty.
We designed the Database to meet the needs of policymakers, lawyers, judges, scholars, journalists, human rights advocates, and members of the public looking for comprehensive information regarding the application of the death penalty worldwide. Reliable data regarding death penalty practices is difficult to obtain for a number of reasons. Some states classify death penalty figures as state secrets. Others provide only selective data. And in others, record-keeping practices are so unreliable that researchers must travel to prisons to obtain accurate data on prisoners and death row conditions. The Center’s approach prioritizes primary sources and collaboration with in-country partners. When a definitive conclusion cannot be reached, we set out the available information and offer an informed assessment of state practice. To ensure that the users can gauge the accuracy of our information, we provide sources for each fact cited in the Database.
The Database’s user-friendly interface and intuitive filters allow researchers to easily access reliable information. Users can quickly find the answers they need by combining more than sixty variables through the Database’s advanced search capabilities.