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The Cost of Capital Punishment

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Cost of Capital Punishment

Some believe if they ban the death penalty the state can save millions. There are claims that the death penalty is more expensive than life without parole. The expense of capital punishment and life without parole is very contentious issue. A study done by the Sacramento Bee, argued that California would save ninety million dollars per year if it were to abolish the death penalty. Many opponents presently say that the cost of the death penalty is so expensive, at least two million dollars per case and say that we must choose life without parole at a cost of one million dollars for fifty years. JFA (Justice for All) estimates that life without parole will cost one point two million dollars through three point six million dollars more than equivalent death penalty cases. Life without parole prisoners faces on average of thirty or forty years in prison while the annual cost of incarceration in forty thousand dollars to fifty thousand dollars a year for each prisoner (Lowe)

Nationwide, the average cell cost is twenty four thousand dollars per year and the maximum security cell cost is seventy five thousand dollars per year. (as of12/95). Opponents claim that life without parole should replace the death penalty. Therefore, any cost calculations should be based specifically on cell costs for criminals who have committed the exact same category of offense. This means cost comparisons are valid only if you compare the costs of death penalty to life without parole cases to the cost of death penalty cases. Even though the government calculates a seventy five percentage greater cell cost for the death penalty than for equivalent life without parole cases, life without parole cases appear to be significantly more expensive, over time, than their death penalty cases. For years, opponents have improperly compared the cost of all life without parole cases to death penalty cases, when only the death penalty is equivalent life without parole cases are relevant. (Lowe)

While many will say that it costs about seven times as much for a death penalty trial compared to a lesser trial,

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