List of US states that have abolished the death penalty. Michigan was the first state to abolish capital punishment, and in fact never conducted an execution after it joined the Union. Alaska and Hawaii both abolished the death penalty prior to statehood, and Oregon abolished the death penalty in 1964, but reinstated it in 1984. The District of Columbia also no longer uses the death penalty 1981, with its last execution applied in 1957. Connecticut became the 17th state to abolish the death penalty in April 2012.The year each state did away with capital punishment is highlighted below.