The Trump Administration’s 2020-21 execution spree came to an end on Friday with the execution of the Dustin Higgs. Higgs was the 13th person put to death since federal executions resumed in July, 2020.

A close look at those executed over the last six months shows that the federal death penalty is not reserved for the “worst of the worst” as some of its proponents contend. Instead it targets the most disadvantaged and disabled of those charged with capital crimes.

Having an intellectual disability, a mental illness, or a history of childhood abuse and trauma turns out to be a very important, though often unappreciated, factor in explaining both who ends up on death row and who gets executed.

That is just one of the reasons why President-Elect Joe Biden should take decisive steps to end the federal death penalty and lead a campaign for nationwide abolition of capital punishment.

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