The Cost Of Capital Punishment In California

October 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm Leave a comment

A Contra Costa Times editorial states

However, it is unlikely that executing a prisoner a month, as Ohio is doing now, would significantly affect the feasibility of the death penalty.

It still would be a policy that fails to accomplish its purpose of lowering murder rates and would continue to cost far more than an effective alternative.

Since the state’s death penalty was reinstated in 1978, taxpayers have spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment. California has more than 700 inmates on death row, more than any other state. However, only 13 executions have been carried out, the last one in 2006. That amounts to $308 million per execution.

Executing a dozen or so more over the next year or so hardly would make the system cost effective. There still would be
hundreds of prisoners on death row for many years. California taxpayers still would be spending nearly $200 million more every year than they would if those same prisoners were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, according to a major new analysis of the cost of capital punishment.

It is not just the high cost of housing one inmate per cell on death row that makes capital punishment so expensive. Death penalty prosecutions cost up to 20 times more than a life-sentence case. That’s because jury selection takes far longer, the state pays up to $300,000 for a defendant’s attorney and security costs are high.

Also, there are two trials, one to determine guilt and a second for sentencing, and that doesn’t count the numerous constitutionally mandated appeals, which can take many years.

None of the above costs would significantly change with a resumption of executions. Even with one execution per month indefinitely, the death row population would continue to increase “

Having a huge death row in this for this is a burden. Trying to executing 700 people would just too take long. Does California want to pay the money or see the bloodshed of 700 people executed.
That is what a 30-year backlog with the death penalty gives out. Now, California death isn’t the largest death row in proportions to state population, but it is still a very large death row.

For example, Alabama’s death row count is 201 prisoners and yet it has a population of nearly 5 million. In proportion, California’s death row would be 1400 prisoners if the California gave as much death penalties cases as Alabama did.
So California does not has a huge death row in proportion to population size, but California has much larger backlog of death penalty cases than Alabama does. At 40 executions a year, it would take California nearly 18 years to execute all of the inmates even if the state banned capital punishment for new inmates.
40 executions a year for 18 years? That is just too huge of a backlog to warrant state-sanction murder at that pace. It shows that California has been too slow in dealing with its execution backlog and has too many prisoners serving death penalty.

In addition, death penalty cases put a huge strain on the county prosecutor’s office.  It requires a lot of resources to prosecute a death penalty case and with the large backlog of major felony and misdemeanor cases, it is strain that counties could ill afford.

The other resource is that put a strain on the California prison system. If the death row shut down, the statecould effectively close San Quentin and get rid of the aging infrastructure in the prison.. San Quentin is an old prison that needs to close.

As stated in the editorial, getting rid of the death penalty would yield $200 million in savings. In addition, it would yield additional one-time savings by closing San Quentin and, also would free up resources on the county level where prosecutorial resources have a huge backlog.

Since we had the case of Troy Davis and Cameron Todd Willingham, we have known that capital punishment comes at a cost When it comes to California, California should eliminate the death penalty for (i) budgetary purposes and (ii) prevent cases similar to Cameron Todd Willingham from happening in California.

Personally, I am not opposed to the death penalty, but I do question its merits in my home state. I feel it time that we seriously look at the cost of having death penalty and consider its elimination as a state. I feel that the state has too large of death penalty backlog and I do not want to see my home state executing 12 or more people a year. I rather see capital punishment as a rare event where it is given in rare circumstances and I just do not see the conditions are right for it to continue in California.

The other resource is that put a strain on the California prison system. If the death row shut down, the state could effectively close San Quentin and get rid of the aging infrastructure. San Quentin is a old prison that needs to close.

As stated in the editorial, getting rid of the death penalty would yield $200 million in savings.  In addition, it would yield additional one-time savings by closing San Quentin and,  also would free up resources on the county level where prosecutorial resources have a huge backlog.

Since we had the case of Troy Davis and Cameron Todd Willingham, we have known that capital punishment comes at a cost   When it comes to California, California should eliminate the death penalty for (i) budgetary purposes and (ii) prevent cases similar to Cameron Todd Willingham from happening in California.

Personally, I am not opposed to the death penalty, but I do question its merits in my home state.  I feel it time that we seriously look at the cost of having death penalty and consider its elimination as a state.  I feel that the state has too large of death penalty backlog and I do not want to see my home state executing 12 or more people a year.  I rather see capital punishment as a rare event where it is given in rare circumstances and I just do not see the conditions are right for it to continue in California.

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

The Will To Cut The Military Industrial Complex High Gas Prices

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Calendar

October 2011
M T W T F S S
« Sep   Nov »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Most Recent Posts


%d bloggers like this: