Cut $Millions from State Budgets: Eliminate the Death Penalty

Cutting budgets seems to be topic #1 today, so I thought this might be some grist for the economic mill:  The Death Penalty is hugely expensive.  Save millions of dollars: eliminate it.


• The California death penalty system costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the costs of keeping convicts locked up for life.Taxpayers have paid more than $250 million for each of the state’s executions. (L.A. Times, March 6, 2005)

• In Kansas, the costs of capital cases are 70% more expensive than comparable non-capital cases, including the costs of incarceration.(Kansas Performance Audit Report, December 2003).

•  In Maryland,  an  average  death  penalty  case  resulting in  a  death  sentence  costs  approximately  $3 million.   The  eventual  costs to Maryland taxpayers for cases pursued 1978-1999 will be $186 million.  Five executions have resulted. (Urban Institute 2008).• The most comprehensive study in the country found that the death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million per execution over the costs of sentencing murderers to life imprisonment. The majority of those costs occur at the trial level. (Duke University, May 1993).

• Enforcing the death penalty costs Florida $51 million a year above what it would cost to punish all first-degree murderers with life in prison without parole. Based on the 44 executions Florida had carried out since 1976, that amounts to a cost of $24 million for each execution. (Palm Beach Post, January 4, 2000).

• In Texas, a death penalty case costs an average of $2.3 million, about three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at the highest security level for 40 years. (Dallas Morning News, March 8, 1992).

Source: DEATH PENALTY INFORMATION CENTER Facts about the Death Penalty Updated April 1, 2011

1015 18th Street NW, Suite 704

Washington, DC 20036

Phone: (202) 289 – 2275



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