The Marshall Project wants to fill a huge gap in criminal justice journalism: a lack of up-to-date schedules for upcoming executions.
The news outlet pointed out that we have a lot of information on past executions. We know, for example, that Roderick Nunley, who died eight days ago from lethal injection in Missouri, was the 1,414th person to have been executed since 1976, the year the Supreme Court allowed executions to continue after a brief hiatus. But who's next?
Now you can find out with this infographic from the Marshall Project, which shows the next person scheduled to die, the latest year each state carried out an execution, and the most common methods of execution since 1976:
This infographic also shows another fact about the death penalty: Executions are becoming less common in America, hitting a 20-year low in 2014.
In recent years, a shortage of lethal injection drugs has expedited the decline. Ohio, for instance, has two dozen death row inmates with scheduled execution dates, but no drugs to carry out the executions. Ohio hasn't executed anyone since January 2014, when the execution of Dennis McGuire with an experimental, untried two-drug method went awry, causing the convicted killer to gasp and snort for 26 minutes before he died.
The drug shortage has caused a lot of states to reconsider their policies. Some states have approved alternative execution methods in case they run out of lethal injection drugs: Oklahoma authorized the use of nitrogen gas, Utah brought back the firing squad, and Tennessee reinstated the electric chair. Others, like Nebraska, abandoned the death penalty altogether, citing religious objections and high costs of the death penalty in addition to the drug shortage. But in general, the trend is toward fewer executions — even in states that haven't formally abandoned the death penalty.