One Way To Cut Costs: Abolish the Death Penalty
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (l), has consistently been against the death penalty. Now he is using a new argument: abolishing it will save money. He says capital cases cost three times as much as homicide cases where the death penalty is not in play.
Lawmakers in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and New Hampshire have made the same argument in recent months as they push bills seeking to repeal the death penalty, and experts say such bills have a good chance of passing in Maryland, Montana and New Mexico.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is rethinking his support of the death penalty because of both cost and miscarriages of justice. One argument for the death penalty is that it gives more options for plea bargaining, but death penalty expert Eric M. Freedman of Hofstra University, says plea bargaining rates are the same in death penalty and non-death penalty states.
The Urban Institute study of Maryland concluded that because of appeals, it cost as much as $1.9 million more for a state prosecutor to put someone on death row than it did to put a person in prison. A case that resulted in a death sentence cost $3 million, the study found, compared with less than $1.1 million for a case in which the death penalty was not sought.
New Jersey abolished the death penalty in 2007, becoming the first state in a generation to do so. Expect more states to follow suit.Click here for reuse options!
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