The United States Can't Afford the Death Penalty. Literally.
October 20, 2009
At 678, California has the nation's largest death row population, yet the state has not executed anyone in four years.
But it spends more than $130 million a year on its capital punishment system -- housing and prosecuting inmates and coping with an appellate system that has kept some convicted killers waiting for an execution date since the late 1970s.
This is according to a new report that concludes that states are wasting millions on an inefficient death penalty system, diverting scarce funds from other anti-crime and law enforcement programs.
"Thirty-five states still retain the death penalty, but fewer and fewer executions are taking place every year," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. "But the overall death row population has remained relatively steady. At a time of budget shortfalls nationwide, the death penalty is turning into an expensive form of life without parole."
His group commissioned the study released Tuesday.