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The death penalty is in flux, with Congress and numerous states debating the punishment while some—Texas, most of all—keep trying to carry out executions. In Death Sentences, Marshall Project reporters Keri Blakinger, Maurice Chammah and others tell the stories that you need to know about the death penalty’s past, as well as its uncertain future.
John Henry Ramirez, who is incarcerated on death row at the Allan B. Polunsky Unit, in Livingston, Texas, on Sept. 1, 2021.
Death Sentences September 7
As a Texas man sues for his pastor to touch him during his execution, a guide to rights for the condemned.
Rodney Reed, pictured here meeting with TV celebrity Dr. Phil, is on death row at the Polunsky Unit in Texas.  His case has drawn the support of Kim Kardashian West, Beyoncé, Oprah and Gigi Hadid.
Death Sentences July 16
The case of Rodney Reed — whose innocence claims were championed by the reality TV star — raises questions about celebrities’ role in the criminal justice system.
Gerald Pizzuto Jr., circa 2000.
“I don’t understand trying to kill somebody who is already dying,” says the sister of Idaho death-row prisoner Gerald Pizzuto.
From left, Oklahoma state Rep. Kevin McDugle, Texas state Rep. Jeff Leach and South Dakota state Sen. Arthur Rusch have filed bills to reform the death penalty in their states.
Death Sentences April 15
A growing number of conservative lawmakers want to overhaul capital punishment, or end it.
A women kneels in front of a memorial at Gold Spa, one of three Atlanta-area spas targeted in a mass shooting that killed eight people, on March 18, 2021.
Death Sentences April 5
The men arrested in recent killings in Atlanta, Boulder, Colorado, and Orange, California, could face very different sentences if convicted.
Billie Allen, center, with his friends on federal death row who were executed, from left: Orlando Hall, Corey Johnson, Dustin Higgs, Brandon Bernard and Christopher Andre Vialva.
Life Inside April 1
I escaped Donald Trump’s last-minute execution spree. Now I have to find a way to keep fighting.
President Joe Biden at the White House in March.
Death Sentences March 12
Biden vowed to end the death penalty. A recent court filing suggests where he might start.
Death Sentences February 10
The Marshall Project tracked every execution in America for more than five years. For condemned people, the path to death grew longer, more winding and erratic.
Raymond Riles, right, with Ronald O'Bryan at the Ellis Unit in Huntsville, Texas, in 1979. In that era, incarcerated people on death row could go to the exercise yard for three 90-minute periods a week.
Death Sentences February 4
Raymond Riles has been on death row longer than anyone in America. He’s one of many who have languished there for decades with severe mental illnesses.
Jerry Jurek was convicted of killing 10-year-old Wendy Adams in 1973. His case went to the Supreme Court as one of several testing new death penalty laws around the country. Pictured here in 1979, left, and 2015, right.
Looking Back January 26
In an excerpt from his new book, ‘Let the Lord Sort Them,’ Marshall Project staff writer Maurice Chammah explains where a 1970s legal team fighting the death penalty went wrong.