The Death Penalty Information Center's year end report found there were just 20 executions in 2016, fewer than any year in the last 25 years. (AP Photo/Ric Feld, File)

The number of executions in the United States dropped to a 25-year low in 2016, according to a new report.

The Death Penalty Information Center’s year end report found there were just 20 executions in 2016, fewer than any year in the last 25 years. The report also discovered that judges and juries this year imposed the fewest death sentences since states began re-enacting death penalty statutes in 1973.

“2016 saw historic lows in death sentences, executions, and public support for the death penalty,” the center said in its report. “Executions and death sentences grew increasingly isolated, with a small number of outlier jurisdictions responsible for most of the death penalty’s use. Just two states —Texas and Georgia—accounted for 80 percent of this year’s executions, and just three — California, Ohio, and Texas — produced more than half of this year’s death sentences.”

The Death Penalty Information Center’s findings come as the issue of capital punishment has spawned new controversy at the Supreme Court. A 4-4 split decision by the Supreme Court earlier this month allowed the execution of an Alabama man to proceed.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who wanted to halt the execution, subsequently issued a call for the high court to “reconsider the constitutionality of the death penalty” in a dissent from the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear a death penalty case from Florida.

The Supreme Court heard arguments in one death penalty case this term from Moore v. Texas, where the high court is looking to decide whether the execution of an inmate after a prolonged period of incarceration violates the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

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