Only 58 countries in the world still regularly impose the death penalty, but it is widely accepted in the United States. Public opinion polls show that between 60 and 60 percent of Americans approve the use of the death penalty in some cases. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, about 85 percent of executions occur in the south - half of them in Texas.
Amnesty International reports that 52 people were executed in the United States in 2009 - the bulk by lethal injection. In the summer of 2010, Utah put Ronnie Lee Gardner, convicted of murdering a bartender and an attorney during an escape attempt, to death by firing squad, the first time the method was used since 1996. The case reopened the debate about the use of the death penalty and whether or not some methods are inhumane.
Death penalty cases are notoriously expensive to prosecute because of the number of appeals involved. CBS "Sunday Morning" recently reported that since the advent of DNA evidence, 17 prisoners on death row had been found innocent and released.
So why do so many Americans support the death penalty?
New York Law School professor Robert Blecker told "Sunday Morning" it is because "some people deserve to die, and we have an obligation to kill them."
Whether you are interested in reading more about death penalty controversies or high-profile cases where capital punishment is a factor, check out the latest reports and video below.