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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Abolish the Death Penalty

From Amnesty International

The Death Penalty Costs More
"Elimination of the death penalty would result in a net savings to the state of at least several tens of millions of dollars annually, and a net savings to local governments in the millions to tens of millions of dollars on a statewide basis."
-- Joint Legislative Budget Committee of the California Legislature, Sept. 9, 1999

Recent Cost Studies

A 2003 legislative audit in Kansas found that the estimated cost of a death penalty case was 70% more than the cost of a comparable non-death penalty case. Death penalty case costs were counted through to execution (median cost $1.26 million). Non-death penalty case costs were counted through to the end of incarceration (median cost $740,000).
(December 2003 Survey by the Kansas Legislative Post Audit)

The estimated costs for the death penalty in New York since 1995 (when it was reinstated): $160 million, or approximately $23 million for each person sentenced to death. To date, no executions have been carried out.
(The Times Union, Sept. 22, 2003)

In Tennessee, death penalty trials cost an average of 48% more than the average cost of trials in which prosecutors seek life imprisonment.
(2004 Report from Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury Office of Research)

The greatest costs associated with the death penalty occur prior to and during trial, not in post-conviction proceedings. Even if all post-conviction proceedings (appeals) were abolished, the death penalty would still be more expensive than alternative sentences.

Trials in which the prosecutor is seeking a death sentence have two separate and distinct phases: conviction (guilt/innocence) and sentencing. Special motions and extra time for jury selection typically precede such trials.

More investigative costs are generally incurred in capital cases, particularly by the prosecution.
When death penalty trials result in a verdict less than death or are reversed, taxpayers first incur all the extra costs of capital pretrial and trial proceedings and must then also pay either for the cost of incarcerating the prisoner for life or the costs of a retrial (which often leads to a life sentence).

The death penalty diverts resources from genuine crime control measures. Spending money on the death penalty system means:

Reducing the resources available for crime prevention, mental health treatment, education and rehabilitation, meaningful victims’ services, and drug treatment programs.

Taking it away from existing components of the criminal justice system, such as prosecutions of drug crimes, domestic violence, and child abuse.

http://www.amnestyusa.org/abolish/cost.html

2 Comments:

  • At 3:30 PM, October 30, 2005, Blogger Calvin said…

    Hurray for Amnesty International!
    It's sad that an economic argument even needs to be made. As though killing should be set aside simply because it isn't good money management.
    By the way, if anyone wants to join the Amnesty Online Action Center, you can send letters to elected officials online. It's very easy and very effective.
    http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/join/

    -Sorry for advertising on your blog.

     
  • At 1:27 PM, November 09, 2005, Blogger KSDP Focus said…

    For all the reasons to abolish the death penalty, economics is the one that is most likely to succeed given the current climate. It's to bad that is how we have to get there but in this case, I think the ends do justify the means.

     

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