The End of The Death Penalty in America
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12-02-2014, 08:35 AM
RE: The End of The Death Penalty in America
Some states are ending the death penalty on the grounds of being too capricious and risks of judicial errors, but what's probably going to kill it in the end is the economics of capital punishment.

It is ourageously expensive to administer the death penalty vs locking a crook up and throwing away the key.

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death-penalty

The death penalty costs cash strapped California billions in wasted taxpayer dollars.

"The authors concluded that the cost of the death penalty in California has totaled over $4 billion since 1978:

•$1.94 billion--Pre-Trial and Trial Costs
•$925 million--Automatic Appeals and State Habeas Corpus Petitions
•$775 million--Federal Habeas Corpus Appeals
•$1 billion--Costs of Incarceration
The authors calculated that, if the Governor commuted the sentences of those remaining on death row to life without parole, it would result in an immediate savings of $170 million per year, with a savings of $5 billion over the next 20 years."


California has over 730 people on death row, yet only 13 people have been executed there since Gregg v Georgia in 1976.

Even Texas, which probably boasts the most streamliened trial and appelate process for death row inmates and speed of executions, is buckling under the costs.

"Each death penalty case in Texas costs taxpayers about $2.3 million. That is about three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at the highest security level for 40 years. ("Executions Cost Texas Millions," Dallas Morning News, March 8, 1992)."

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12-02-2014, 09:46 AM
RE: The End of The Death Penalty in America
(12-02-2014 08:35 AM)Carlo_The_Bugsmasher_Driver Wrote:  "The authors concluded that the cost of the death penalty in California has totaled over $4 billion since 1978:

•$1.94 billion--Pre-Trial and Trial Costs
•$925 million--Automatic Appeals and State Habeas Corpus Petitions
•$775 million--Federal Habeas Corpus Appeals
•[i]$1 billion--Costs of Incarceration

I understand it costs more in terms of appeals, but including incarceration costs in this total makes it smell like the numbers came from someone with an agenda. It's not like the alternative to a death sentence is to let them go. They still would have been incarcerated. Considering how easy it is to manipulate these types of numbers, the source is important.

Quote:"Each death penalty case in Texas costs taxpayers about $2.3 million. That is about three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at the highest security level for 40 years. ("Executions Cost Texas Millions," Dallas Morning News, March 8, 1992)."

Most death row inmates commit their crimes relatively early in life. 40 years seems too optimistic when people are regularly living to ~80 and life spans are expanding.

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12-02-2014, 10:02 AM
RE: The End of The Death Penalty in America
(12-02-2014 09:46 AM)toadaly Wrote:  
(12-02-2014 08:35 AM)Carlo_The_Bugsmasher_Driver Wrote:  "The authors concluded that the cost of the death penalty in California has totaled over $4 billion since 1978:

•$1.94 billion--Pre-Trial and Trial Costs
•$925 million--Automatic Appeals and State Habeas Corpus Petitions
•$775 million--Federal Habeas Corpus Appeals
•[i]$1 billion--Costs of Incarceration

I understand it costs more in terms of appeals, but including incarceration costs in this total makes it smell like the numbers came from someone with an agenda. It's not like the alternative to a death sentence is to let them go. They still would have been incarcerated. Considering how easy it is to manipulate these types of numbers, the source is important.

Quote:"Each death penalty case in Texas costs taxpayers about $2.3 million. That is about three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at the highest security level for 40 years. ("Executions Cost Texas Millions," Dallas Morning News, March 8, 1992)."

Most death row inmates commit their crimes relatively early in life. 40 years seems too optimistic when people are regularly living to ~80 and life spans are expanding.

3 times the cost so it would mean they would have to live 120 years after conviction to equal it.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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12-02-2014, 10:29 AM
RE: The End of The Death Penalty in America
Here are some reasons that I see favoring the death penalty:
1) No chance of the person ever returning to society and repeating their crime(s).
2) More cells left available for perpetrators of lesser crimes.
3) Less risk to other inmates and prison staff because the most violent would have been executed.

It's not about "an eye for an eye".

The biggest reason I see against the death penalty is it risks innocent people being executed and then there is no way to undo it.

That reason against is a big one, but probably also a rarity. Still, if your family member was among the rare ones wrongly convicted and executed, it would make ALL the difference. Therefore, for me, it makes all the difference. I don't think any family should be subjected to that and so I am against the death penalty.

That said, in cases where there isn't the slightest doubt of guilt, I have no problem in principle with the person being executed, for the reasons cited in favor above. But it isn't possible to write laws to reliably define when it's ok and when it's not based on level of certainty. So that leaves only not allowing the death penalty.

Finally, as long as the death penalty is still being allowed, it should be carried out in a humane manner. I too have no sympathy for the scumbags, but torturing them accomplishes nothing except a few brief moments of "feeling better". It doesn't undo the crime(s) and it doesn't work as a deterrent. They're going to die anyway so just snuff them out and be done. Doing otherwise really isn't stooping to their level, but it is heading in that direction.

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12-02-2014, 10:44 AM
RE: The End of The Death Penalty in America
(12-02-2014 10:02 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  
(12-02-2014 09:46 AM)toadaly Wrote:  I understand it costs more in terms of appeals, but including incarceration costs in this total makes it smell like the numbers came from someone with an agenda. It's not like the alternative to a death sentence is to let them go. They still would have been incarcerated. Considering how easy it is to manipulate these types of numbers, the source is important.


Most death row inmates commit their crimes relatively early in life. 40 years seems too optimistic when people are regularly living to ~80 and life spans are expanding.

3 times the cost so it would mean they would have to live 120 years after conviction to equal it.
I assume you're getting the 3 times from the 1 billion vs. 4 billion?

I don't think that's an accurate picture. Both cases would include the pre-trial and trial costs as well as the incarceration. So it's really 2.94 billion vs. 4 billion. So the difference is more like 1.36 times as opposed to 3 times. And that would be narrowed further if there are at least some appeals common to both which is pretty likely.

I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
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12-02-2014, 10:59 AM (This post was last modified: 12-02-2014 11:06 AM by toadaly.)
RE: The End of The Death Penalty in America
(12-02-2014 10:02 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  3 times the cost so it would mean they would have to live 120 years after conviction to equal it.

I don't doubt that the cost is higher, but when I see these numbers, and they're unrealistically optimistic, it makes me doubt whatever else the author has written. You just can't trust politicized sources on this sort of thing, because it's too easy to manipulate the numbers.

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12-02-2014, 11:05 AM
RE: The End of The Death Penalty in America
(12-02-2014 10:29 AM)Impulse Wrote:  Here are some reasons that I see favoring the death penalty:
1) No chance of the person ever returning to society and repeating their crime(s).
2) More cells left available for perpetrators of lesser crimes.
3) Less risk to other inmates and prison staff because the most violent would have been executed.

It's not about "an eye for an eye".

To me, it *is* about vengeance, and I'm OK with that. Vengeance is part of human nature, and I don't view the life of some fuckwad child rapist as more important. We're a society of pussies unwilling to kill people that desperately need to be killed.

That said, I still oppose the death penalty, because our justice system is completely dysfunctional and broken. It's too easy for an unscrupulous prosecutor to railroad people, even in death penalty cases, and it has happened many times as proven by the Innocence Project.

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12-02-2014, 11:11 AM
RE: The End of The Death Penalty in America
(12-02-2014 10:59 AM)toadaly Wrote:  
(12-02-2014 10:02 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  3 times the cost so it would mean they would have to live 120 years after conviction to equal it.

I don't doubt that the cost is higher, but when I see these numbers, and they're unrealistically optimistic, it makes me doubt whatever else the author has written. You just can't trust politicized sources on this sort of thing, because it's too easy to manipulate the numbers.

Except nearly every study shows the same numbers. This is a moot point as more states remove the death penalty it will eventually force the hand of the rest. If it is illegal in 26 states then the supreme court will rule it unconstitutional under the 8th amendment. This is not a question of if but of when.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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12-02-2014, 11:21 AM
RE: The End of The Death Penalty in America
(12-02-2014 11:11 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Except nearly every study shows the same numbers. This is a moot point as more states remove the death penalty it will eventually force the hand of the rest. If it is illegal in 26 states then the supreme court will rule it unconstitutional under the 8th amendment. This is not a question of if but of when.

...then it should be easy to find one that doesn't have obvious bias.

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12-02-2014, 11:38 AM
RE: The End of The Death Penalty in America
(12-02-2014 11:21 AM)toadaly Wrote:  
(12-02-2014 11:11 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Except nearly every study shows the same numbers. This is a moot point as more states remove the death penalty it will eventually force the hand of the rest. If it is illegal in 26 states then the supreme court will rule it unconstitutional under the 8th amendment. This is not a question of if but of when.

...then it should be easy to find one that doesn't have obvious bias.

Prove your accusation of there being a bias.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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