A recent report suggests that the number of death sentences awarded to convicts dropped below 100 this year, for the first time in three decades. In fact, the annual count of capital punishment cases is down by 75 percent from 1996 figures.

According to the report, only 78 inmates were sentenced to death and 43 were executed in 2011, which is the least since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

The drop was particularly pronounced in Texas; the state boasted a significant drop of 46 percent in execution rates.

Executions dropped to the lowest number since 1996 and death sentences in Texas remained at a historic low level in 2011, according to the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP) report. Other states that had no new death sentences in 2011 were Maryland, South Carolina, Missouri and Indiana.

Texas, along with the rest of the nation, is steadily moving away from the death penalty, Kristin Houl, the Executive Director of TCADP, said.

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Photo Credit: www.tcadp.org

Use of the death penalty has been relegated to just a few jurisdictions in the state as prosecutors and jurors accept alternatives that protect society and punish those who are truly guilty. Still, longstanding concerns about the arbitrary and biased administration of the death penalty remain, Houl added.

The report also states that according to a new poll that numerically the supporters of the death penalty have declined to a reasonable percentage.