To put it flippantly, imprisoning someone is a right bloody pain. The amount the state spends per head on our prisoners is a lot more than is spent on some far more deserving groups (sorry, I'm going to be a lazy debater and not find any figures - they're out there if you care to look).
The death penalty can be more expensive than incarceration. For example in Los Angeles a death penalty trial costs on average $1,898,323. A non-capital trial costs $627,322. In L.A. the total cost of executing someone is $2,087,926. Life imprisonment costs $1,448,935.
That's before you take into account the appeals which often continue over a decade before all legal options are exhausted. I heard somewhere that quite a few death row inmates in California die of old age every year. _________________ “But you are a thin-blooded lot! Ere you have grown up you are already overgrown and withered. You live like an old radish." - Maxim Gorky, The Man Who Was Afraid, Chapter 10.
That's an interesting point, and I had no idea quite how expensive the process is. That certainly points out an imperfect system where trials are dragged out (often unnecessarily, just to stall or overwhelm the other side with paper) and lawyers can command ridiculous sums of money. That's a good argument against having the death penalty in this country; however, I don't think it's an argument against the principle of the death penalty.
Not sure it is a great argument, because by very nature the kind of crimes which end up with death penalty being ordered are going to be more hotly contested than other "non-capital" crimes which will include less serious crimes which won't end up being as expensive. I realise I've explained that badly and I did already know that executions are expensive, but to some extent I think that may be true.
And the court cases may be more for death penalty cases but then there is the cost of keeping the prisoner alive and the jail spaces that they take up that could be used for people who commit 'lesser' offences. The type of people who are normally released earlier then re-offend instantly.
Needless to say I'm happy with the decision that was taken. Interestingly reports say that none of the jurors took the "he wants to be a martyr, lets not let him" view, it was purely that they didn't consider he played enough of a part in the plot to justify it.
There's a good article in todays Independent about the Innocence Project, a non-profit organisation which works to exonerate wrongly convicted and in some cases wrongly executed prisoners. Interesting point made that even in Texas, when it becomes clear they have executed an innocent man attitudes tend to soften and the article is optimistic on the political tide turning against it in the US. Good quote from a candidate running for Texas governor; One of his campaign slogans is "Texas: 50th in education, first in executions... how's that working for you?" _________________ Resist ID cards and the database state
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