Austerity Could End The Death Penalty

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Someone has finally found the argument that could finally put an end to the death penalty, it costs too much. In the age of austerity, the cost to the state of Maryland to litigate the appeal of inmates on death row is three times higher than the cost of life in prison without parole:

In its 2008 report, the (Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment) wrote that the average cost of prosecuting and imprisoning a Death Row inmate was $3 million, nearly three times higher than the cost of convicting and sentencing a murderer to life imprisonment. Of that $3 million, $1.7 million is spent in the courtroom and $1.3 million is spent in a Supermax prison, the commission wrote. [..]

The commission determined that the state spent $1.8 million dollars for every failed attempt to impose the death penalty, including $950,000 in prison costs and $850,000 in adjudication costs.

Maryland’s Gov. Martin O’Malley said since the death penalty is not a crime deterrent and the exorbitant cost, it is time to end the death penalty in his state.

On Friday, the Maryland state Senate once again began debating a bill to repeal capital punishment in the state. It needs 24 votes to pass and 26 senators have already said publicly that they support the repeal.

Rather than funnel all of their focus into moral and social arguments, the bill’s supporters have been making their point partly in economic terms. The cost of prosecuting a death row case in Maryland can be as much as three times what it costs for a case seeking a life sentence without parole.

On Sunday’s Up with Chris Hayes, Bryan Stevenson, founder & executive Director of Equal Justice Initiative, professor at New York University School of Law, addressed how the savings could benefit public safety. He and Up host Chris Hayes were joined by panelists Mattea Kramer, the National Priorities Project; David Sirota, contributor to Salon.com; and Roberto Lovato, writer for New American Media, contributor to The Nation.


  1. TMC
  2. terryhallinan

    There is an argument that the death penalty at least gives the wrongly convicted a chance to escape prison that life parole is less likely to do.

    I sadly agree with that argument.

    Best,  Terry

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