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AP: Executions Are Now Too Expensive

From those champions of justice at any price at the Associated Press:

In hard times, executions become question of cost

By Deborah Hastings, AP National Writer

After decades of moral arguments reaching biblical proportions, after long, twisted journeys to the nation’s highest court and back, the death penalty may be abandoned by several states for a reason having nothing to do with right or wrong:


Turns out, it is cheaper to imprison killers for life than to execute them, according to a series of recent surveys. Tens of millions of dollars cheaper, politicians are learning, during a tumbling recession when nearly every state faces job cuts and massive deficits.

So an increasing number of them are considering abolishing capital punishment in favor of life imprisonment, not on principle but out of financial necessity…

In 2007, time and money were the reasons New Jersey became the first state to ban executions since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1972.

Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine commuted the executions of 10 men to life imprisonment without parole. Legal costs were too great and produced no result, lawmakers said. After spending an estimated $4.2 million for each death sentence, the state had executed no one since 1963. Also, eliminating capital punishment eliminated the risk of executing an innocent person.

Out of 36 remaining states with the death penalty, at least eight have considered legislation this year to end it — Maryland, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, New Hampshire, Washington and Kansas — an uncommon marriage between eastern liberals and western conservatives, built on economic hardship

Death penalty trials are more expensive for several reasons: They often require extra lawyers; there are strict experience requirements for attorneys, leading to lengthy appellate waits while capable counsel is sought for the accused; security costs are higher, as well as costs for processing evidence — DNA testing, for example, is far more expensive than simple blood analyses…

In California, home to the nation’s biggest death row population at 667, it costs an extra $90,000 per inmate to imprison someone sentenced to death — an additional expense that totals more than $60 million annually, according to a 2008 study by the state’s Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice…

Some prominent Californians have asked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to get rid of executions. Especially now, as service cuts and tax increases are pegged to fill a $42 billion budget hole…

In Maryland, a 2008 Urban Institute study said taxpayers forked out at least $37.2 million for each of five executions since the death penalty was re-enacted in 1978. The survey, which examined 162 capital cases, found that simply seeking the death penalty added $186 million to prosecution costs. Gov. Martin O’Malley, who disdains the death penalty on moral and financial grounds, is pushing a bill to repeal it…

But if convicted killers get life imprisonment instead of death, is that letting them off easy?

Not a chance, says 52-year-old Gordon "Randy" Steidl…

Our moral superiors in our one party media will simply latch onto any excuse to push their agenda.

Why is it more expensive to imprison a person for life than to execute them? (Assuming it is, just for the sake of argument.)

Because of endless and needless and often unsolicited legal appeals, of course. Appeals long since championed by the selfsame watchdog media.

And now that the left and their handmaidens in the media have driven up the cost, they want to use it as an argument against the meting out of justice.

Meanwhile, we are to believe that no expense should be spared when it comes to appeals of convictions.

In Maryland, a 2008 Urban Institute study said taxpayers forked out at least $37.2 million for each of five executions since the death penalty was re-enacted in 1978.

When was the Urban Institute ever concerned about saving taxpayers money?

Besides, this is use of tax dollars that most would support (and have supported, year after year) because it does make life safer for all of us.

But speaking of chameleon-like values:

But if convicted killers get life imprisonment instead of death, is that letting them off easy?

Not a chance, says 52-year-old Gordon "Randy" Steidl…

You see, the media really want to punish these criminals with a fate worse than death.

And we are supposed to believe them.

It was ever thus.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, March 7th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

30 Responses to “AP: Executions Are Now Too Expensive”

  1. bousquem says:

    The only reason the left cares about saving money is to that “saved” money can be funnelled to the left’s pet projects and groups like ACORN.

  2. MinnesotaRush says:

    Well by golly, maybe o-blah-blah could have one of his “summits” and bring in a few folks from the Texas Dep’t of Corrections and Sherriff Joe from Arizona. I’m guessing that they’d be able to deliver some quality procedures to simplify and cheapen that whole problem! YeeeHaww!

  3. oldswimcoach says:

    Shoot, I thought this was a story about the increased taxes on bullets and hemp rope.

  4. DoctorRock says:

    Well if the process is too expensive, we’ll simply have to farm it out. That’s the American way, right? The condemned can submit their appeals over the phone to Bangalore. At 37.2 million each we can save California nearly 25 billion!

  5. Chinnubie says:

    The age-old argument is no one wants to execute an innocent man/woman. The problem with going to “life in prison” opens up the gate to, “well they have been model prisoners over the last 25 years and we need to make room for more prisoners, so why don’t we let this cold blooded killer out now that he has seen the error of his ways.” In a way I see both sides of the arguments and the real cost we are talking about here is a human being. What if you were on “death row” wouldn’t you want all of the appeals you could get?

    • VMAN says:

      I guess if I was a dirt bag scum murderer who tortured my victims until they begged for mercy I’d want to stretch out the inevitable for as long as I could. The fact is bullets are cheap, ropes are cheap and electricity is cheap so let’s use them in a timely fashion. As they say there are no guilty men on death row. Yea right.

  6. Clarissimus says:

    I don’t understand why it costs $37M to execute a prisoner. What are they doing, pouring molten gold down his throat?

  7. catie says:

    You know, I’m pro-life across the board. I think Devil’s Island is a great place for these fabulous members of society. There is no way people should be sitting on death row for 20 years or more and that it should cost that much money to execute them. Making big rocks into little rocks, wearing pink jumpsuits and having Sheriff Joe’s baloney brunch is all these people deserve.
    It never ceases to amaze me though that those who are so against the death penalty generally are crazy for abortion. Why in the world would these a$$hats spend so much time on the dregs of society while sacrificing the innocent is beyond me. Idiot O’Malley is an absolute p.o.s. I hope he loses next time around.

  8. thetimeisright says:

    Well it would be cheaper if they used a firing squad just a bullet or two. Here is the problem. With the influx that will be coming here from Mexico because there country is about to fall. We the American tax payer will foot this bill also.

    Yes the American way is to just put them in prison forever. An we will tax our rich so they wont be murders oh yeah.

    This is just one more way for the Gov. to tax our asses to death. If you are in prison for murder you should die. We have become way to soft on criminals. There is a difference bewteen someone that has thought out a murder an carried it out or someone that was defending himself an someone dies. To bad the leftist loons dont know the difference.

  9. proreason says:

    Eeecuting psychotic murderers too expensive? No problem.

    Shackle their feet to a congressman and throw them into a pit with one sharp knife, and freedom for the survivor.

    That will eliminate one deviant quickly and cheaply, and Congress would improve as a bonus.

  10. Liberals Demise says:

    Bullshiite, COUGH, Bullshiite!!

  11. caligirl9 says:

    I watched the movie Changeling the other night.

    The movie dramatizes the 1928 disappearance of 9-year old Walter Collins and the scandal involving the corrupt LAPD that followed. In the film, a boy named Sanford Clark confessed to taking part in the murder of up to 20 young boys, possibly including Walter. This crime, called the Wineville Chicken Coop murders, resulted in the death penalty for Gordon Northcott, Clark’s uncle (and sexual abuser).

    In the film, the judge imposes the death penalty on Northcott, and the whole scene is probably the way a death penalty case should be. Basically, the judge ruled on February 13, 1929, that Northcott would do solitary confinement at San Quentin and be executed on October 2, 1930.

    No fuss, no muss. Give ‘em a date and perhaps put a sense of urgency on the appellate attorneys and the system. Maybe it will become more efficient. None of this 15+ years and counting crap. None of this taking care of these depraved animals and giving them two hot meals a day and free medical care.

    (By the way, the animal that killed Polly Klaas wants a new trial because his rights were violated! Only in California …)

  12. Lipstick on a PIAPS says:

    Why dont we just shoot these bastards like they do in China and then send the family of the executed the bill for the bullet? The liberals love the way things are in China dont they? LMAO

  13. VMAN says:

    Yea let’s do away with the death penalty because it’s too expensive. But wait, keeping them in prison for life can be pretty expensive too. Maybe we should put them in cryogenic deep freeze. We don’t have to feed them or clothe them and no medical care we just have to keep the freezer going and then at some time in the future when we can do brain transplant we can give them a brain from some dead guy who did good all his life so he could continue his good work. Hmmm!! No let’s just off the creeps.

  14. CaliforniaBear says:

    “eliminating capital punishment eliminated the risk of executing an innocent person.”

    Wow, I read that sentence and said to myself “DUH!!!” But I guess this is the kind of reporting we get today by our media. They have to dumb it down for some people. Still, you may not execute an innocent person, but they will be in prison for life. What’s the difference.

    • proreason says:

      Eliminating punishment for all crimes absolutely eliminates any possiblity of incorrectly imprisoning anybody.

      It makes perfect sense.

  15. GL0120 says:

    My late Father-In-Law had a wonderful idea on saving execution costs – attach a group of condemned prisoners to a copper pipe and run a high voltage through it.
    You’d be getting more bang for your buck and isn’t that what TCO wants?
    Seriously, we’re told that executions are barbaric (according to European standards) and that life in prison is sufficient.
    Now there’s a movement that believes that life in prison is barbaric.
    What should we do to killers, make them write “I will be good” a hundred times or perhaps an essay on the benefits of good behavior?

  16. Anonymoose says:

    The other cost that is not being considered is what these people do with their lives in jail once they get the “life without parole unless we change our minds.”

    Even in a prison life is not in a bubble. It’s not like they get a pass off Death Row and are like “Okay, I’ll just go sit in my jail cell for 40 years, thank you.” These people did something serious to be on Death Row in the first place. The potential is always there for escape, killing or terrorizing other prisoners and guards, and whatever ways they can find to mess around with people on the outside.

    Probably the best solution I ever heard of was in that old John Carpenter movie, where they wall off New York City and just toss them in there and forget about it.

    • GL0120 says:

      Hmm, wall off New York? Interesting idea, can we do it to Washington D.C.? I mean, without throwing any prisoners in.
      They live in their own little world anyhow and the country would be so much better off.

  17. artboyusa says:

    “I don’t understand why it costs $37M to execute a prisoner. What are they doing, pouring molten gold down his throat?” – thanks for that, Clarissimus.LOL !

    Unusually ( I hope) I was in Cub Scouts and went to high school with a guy who’s now serving a life sentence for first degree murder. We were not best pals or anything, but we were friends. I think about him sometimes and wonder what happened in his life to turn him into what he became and then I stop myself and remember the woman he killed.

    My friend didn’t have to do what he did, he made a choice and in making it he crossed a line. Once he crossed that line, he lost any claim to our sympathy and compassion, its the victim and the victim’s family who should have the exclusive right to those things. We owe the murderer nothing except a fair and speedy trial, followed by a swift execution of sentence. Some say that the protracted appeals process, which keeps people on Death Row for years, amounts to torture and maybe it does, but you don’t see too many people volunteering to set their appeal aside and jump into the chair or hop on the gurney – unfortunately.

  18. Liberals Make Great Speedbumps says:

    A .22 hollow point to the base of the skull is very cost effective. Sure they might flop around for a bit if you’re slightly off the mark, but left untreated the end result is 100% assured. Is my lack of compassion showing again?

  19. Colonel1961 says:

    I’m with Catie: we’re constantly told what a ‘rich nation’ we are, so let’s buy an island and turn it into a penal colony. Supplies air-dropped in, prisoners air-dropped in, etc. Talk about a great deterrent (and a societal detergent!). And on the bright side, if it turns out that these were just misunderstood souls who were victims of the system, then I’m sure within a few years, they’ll be well on their way to being the next Australia…

    • CaliforniaBear says:

      Let’s not forget to air drop one knife or air drop one gun with one bullet. That should take care of SOME problems.

  20. Helena says:

    There are so many great suggestions in here from everyone. Pres BHO should definitely start a taskforce from this group to straighten it all out. The Devil’s Island theme seems to be a popular one – perhaps that combined with the walling off of NY or DC and throwing in the prisoners and the politicians with knives and not quite enough baloney sandwiches and looking back in on them, in say, a year – – what do you think?

  21. Reality Bytes says:

    Maybe we could do what Obama’s beloved comrades, the Chicoms do, shoot the bastard & send the bill for the bullet to his family. Problem solved.

  22. Sharps Rifle says:

    Two hundred clams for the lumber to build a gallows, and maybe fifteen bucks worth of rope. Cheap enough.

    Only fifteen bucks if you string the scum up to a tree…

    But I agree with RB: A 9mm Parabellum round is maybe 75 cents, and no gallows or tree is needed. Pop the bastards in the base of the skull and have done with it.

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