Budget Crises Put an Expiration Date on Death Row
Posted on Dec 28, 2011
At least five states are considering getting rid of the death penalty, but the possible repeals have nothing to do with ethics. A study has shown that executions cost taxpayers three times as much as putting an inmate away for life, and budget shortfalls are making even capital punishment hawks doubt the sensibility of their position. —ARK
The weakened economy has recently drawn attention to an unexpected but stark fact: that sentencing someone to death costs more than life without parole.
Maryland, Connecticut, Kansas and Ohio are all currently debating whether to abolish the death penalty while California, which has both the largest budget deficit and the most people on death row of any state, could put it to a public vote in 2012.
In a case that is eligible for the death penalty but where it’s not sought and the sentence is life without the possibility of parole, the average cost to the US taxpayer is $1.1m.
But where a death sentence is given, the case in its entirety will cost an average of $3m.
Curious Expeditions (CC-BY)
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.