No death penalty, more cash

October 22, 2009
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Proponents of abolishing the death penalty have argued for years it costs more to sentence someone to death and execute them than it does to have that person sit in prison for life. A report released this week is taking advantage of the current economy to re-emphasize that point in hopes to getting states to end the death penalty.

The Death Penalty Information Center’s report, which included a poll of police chiefs around the country regarding their thoughts about the death penalty and crime, argues states can save hundreds of millions of dollars by getting rid of death sentences. The report may catch the attention of legislators because what state isn’t looking for extra cash right now?

Numerous groups opposed to the death penalty have cited the extra costs associated with that sentence because investigations have to be more thorough, trials can take longer or be delayed, and often the death sentences are appealed. If a state can really save around $10 million or more, as the report claims by abolishing the death penalty, that’s money that can be put toward expanding jails, putting more police on the streets, or creating more crime-deterrant programs.

A study in California last year revealed the state spends nearly $140 million a year on the death penalty and hasn’t put anyone to death in four years. Florida spends $51 million a year on the death penalty. A study of New Jersey found it spent more than $250 million on the death penalty since 1983.

You may ask, what does a poll of police chiefs have to do with the death penalty? According to the DPIC’s report, most police chiefs ranked the death penalty last when asked to name one area as most important for reducing violent crime. The police chiefs also ranked the death penalty as the least efficient use of taxpayers’ money. They believe hiring more officers, community policing, neighborhood watch programs, and other methods would be more efficient uses of tax dollars.

Is the thought of saving millions of dollars going to be enough to convince states that executions should be ended? If that angle didn’t work before the economy tanked, is it the best argument death penalty opponents have right now?

You can view the report at http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org.
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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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