Examining the Cost of Capital Punishment and the Appeals Process – NCSL.org




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“Many state-initiated analyses—including reports from Michigan, New Mexico and South Dakota—have found administering capital punishment is significantly more expensive than housing prisoners for life without parole.

A study released last month found California has spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment since 1978, executing 13 criminals. That’s about $184 million more a year than life sentences would have cost.

Much of the cost results from litigating numerous appeals during the convict’s time on death row, where the average inmate spends 13 years prior to execution.

This lengthy process also influenced Bateman’s decision to sponsor an abolishment bill. “I spoke to many families who went through trying emotional times during the appeals for death row inmates,” he says. “Transferring an inmate from death row to life without parole allows for the aggrieved families to have a sense of calmness in their life without having to relive the tragic events over and over again.” “


Article from the National Conference of State Legislatures examining the cost of the death penalty and situations where states have stopped its use.


  • Richard Williams


  • The Cost of Punishment: July/August 2011


  • National Conference of State Legislatures


  • 2011


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