Researchers from Sam Houston State University and Duke University looked at data from January of 1994 to December of 2005, during which Texas executed 284 inmates.
They compared executions with the number of homicides to see if there were any month-to-month fluctuations. Their conclusion — every execution resulted in a drop of between .5 and 2.5 murders in the following weeks.
Put another way, last year’s 24 lethal injections in Texas may have saved the lives of as many as 60 people because their would-be killers were deterred — at least according to the study.
Death penalty supporters say these findings back up what they’ve been saying all along. But death penalty opponents say there are too many variables surrounding each execution to draw any valid conclusions on the effectiveness of capital punishment.