A Cruel and Unusual Waste of Money

Executing people is expensive. A new report by the Death Penalty Information Center says California is spending more than 10 times as much on capital punishment — $137 million a year — as it would on an alternative life-without-parole system. New York and New Jersey repealed the death penalty after spending hundreds of millions without an execution to show for it.

Why is it when states look to cut costs, as California has, they go after positive social programs that benefit the poor, kids and seniors? If we’re going to slash education budgets every time we hit a downturn, then we ought to start thinking about execution as a luxury. It may be wildly popular in this country, but we just can’t afford it. — PZS

Christian Science Monitor:

A 2008 study in California found that the state was spending $137 million a year on capital cases. A comparable system that instead sentenced the same offenders to life without parole would cost $11.5 million, says the DPIC report, citing the study’s estimates.

New York spent $170 million over nine years on capital cases before repealing the death penalty. No executions were carried out there.

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