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Is the Death Penalty too expensive in a recession?

April 1, 2009

At NPR, a discussion of the impact of the recession on states’ decisions to repeal or circumscribe death penalty prosecutions.

As research shows that the death penalty prosecutions are more expensive than a conviction that produces a life sentence, the cost argument against imposing the death penalty is getting a boost in these tough economic times.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. john permalink
    April 1, 2009 2:13 pm

    The cost argument is just an incredible cop out for an issue that is so serious. Imagine sentencing murderers based on the amount of taxes their victims paid. It is barbaric, so is tying your death penalty policy to the amount of money it costs.

  2. October 14, 2009 12:23 pm

    The death penalty is a perfectly reasonable form of retribution. Its good for deterrence and protects the innocents. We should worry about good justice, not being humane to sick criminals.

    Just fast-track the legal process and execute them faster like they do in Texas. No need to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  3. January 8, 2010 9:17 am


    In what way does it “protect the innocent”…or “provide a deterrent”. I have blogged about these sorts of myths before: have a look if you wish.

  4. Reece Fowler permalink
    December 23, 2011 7:19 pm

    The only reason the death penalty is expensive is because of the long legal process, as I mentioned in my blog. If we were to only allow one appeal, maybe two, then it would be a lot cheaper. The problem with the cost of the death penalty was caused by bad execution (no pun intended) of the death penalty.

    And yes the death penalty does work as a punishment.
    In Britain, the rates of unlawful killing have more than doubled since the abolition of the death penalty in 1964, from 0.68 per 100,000 of the population to 1 .42 per 100,000.
    Convictions have also risen. In 1964, there were 300 convictions for unlawful killing. This rose to 565 in 1994 and 833 in 2004. Between 1900 and 1965, when the death sentence was in place, they ran at an average of 29 per year.
    There have been 71 murders committed by people who have been released after serving “life sentences” in the period between 1965 and 1998 according to Home Office statistics.

    No it is not too expensive in a recession. So what if it’ costs a bit? It’s worth it because it works. It’s not all about saving money.

  5. atymins13 permalink
    December 29, 2011 3:29 am

    The death penalty is very unnecessary. Thanks for writing this article, because it seems lobbying against capital punishment hasn’t been as vocal as before. I hate to leave links, but I just wrote this article examining flawed arguments in favor of the death penalty.

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