Women on Death Row Are Still Rare

The number of women on death row continues to be far less than men

by Liz Olson
Women on Death Row

Related Links

Both the death sentencing rate and the death row population remain much smaller for women in comparison to men. Only 2% of death sentences in the United States are given to female offenders, according to the February 2008 report, “Death Penalty for Female Offenders,” by Victor Streib.

In addition, the actual execution of convicted females is rare. As of December 31, 2007, only 568 female executions have been documented since 1632, which constitutes 2.8% of the total known executions in the United States since 1608. Since 1973, 162 women have been sentenced to death, and only 11 have been executed after the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. That is less than 1% of the 1,099 executions since 1976. The last female executed was in Texas in 2005. Currently, there are 51 women on death row, which comprises 1.5% of the 3,350 persons.

Characteristics of Women on Death Row

Current Age Nr. Per. Race Nr. Per.
20-29 6 12% Black 14 27%
30-39 17 33 Latina 5 10
40-49 17 33 Native America 1 2
50-59 9 18 White 31 61
60-69 1 2
70-29 6 12%
Total 51 100 Total 51 100
Note: as of Dec.31, 2007

The 11 women that have been executed since 1976

Date of Execution Name Race State Execution Method Race of Victim(s) Realtionship of Victim(s)
1. 11/2/1984 Velma Barfield W NC Lethal injection 1/W boyfriend
2. 2/3/1998 Karla Faye Tucker W TX Lethal injection 1/W stranger
3. 3/30/1998 Judy Buenoano W FL Electrocution 1/W husband
4. 2/24/2000 Betty Lou Beets W TX Lethal injection 1/W husband
5. 5/2/2000 Christina Riggs W AR Lethal injection 2/W children
6. 1/11/2001 Wanda Jean Allen B OK Lethal injection 1/B significant other
7. 5/1/01 Marilyn Plantz W OK Lethal injection 1/W husband
8. 12/4/01 Lois Nadean Smith W OK Lethal injection 1/W son's ex-girlfriend
9. 5/10/02 Lynda Lyon Block W AL Electrocution 1/W stranger (police officer)
10. 10/9/02 Aileen Wuornos W FL Lethal injection 1/W stranger
11. 9/15/05 Frances Newton B TX Lethal injection 3/B children and husband
Note: as of Dec.31, 2007
Source: Death Penalty Information Center (www.deathpenaltyinfo.org)

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Did you know?
The world's newest country is South Sudan.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

3 Fun Thanksgiving Games for Kids
Looking for some great Thanksgiving games to play with your kids? Print our free Pin the Feathers on the Turkey game, Pin the Hat on the Pilgrim game, and Thanksgiving Parade Bingo game for loads of laughs this Turkey Day!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top Family Movies in Theaters for the Holidays
Taking the kids to the movies is a special family treat for the holidays! Don't miss 2014's best family films in theaters from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!