U.S. Cannot Sustain Death Penalty Executions As Money Gets Tighter

October 20, 2009

U.S. (ChattahBox) – A new study has shown that, while the U.S. has 35 states that still allow the death penalty, they cannot afford to execute inmates. Instead, they are creating a life in prison sentence that costs significantly more than if they were just given that to begin with.

“Thirty-five states still retain the death penalty, but fewer and fewer executions are taking place every year,” Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center explained to CNN.

“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.”

In addition to this information, a poll was conducted of 500 police chiefs, asking where they ranked the death penalty as an effective means of violent crime control. Only 1% saw it as a priority, while the rest saw it as the lowest possible suggestion for taking care of the problem.

The problem is that the country’s penal system cannot afford executions, and in the meantime keeping inmates on death row is taking significant funds away from other options that would be more helpful, such as hiring more police officers, expanding an overcrowded prison system, and creating programs to reduce crime.

For the first time, the problem might start to cause states that are well known for their death row policies to take a second look. For example, California and Texas had notoriously high numbers of death row inmates and executions, but their budgets are tapped out. Florida is also strained.

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