Death By Government In California Wastes Money

Death By Government In California Wastes Money

Aside from the​ obvious costs to​ society and its collective morality,​ there are major financial considerations associated with bringing the​ death penalty to​ those convicted of​ capital crimes. According to​ a​ recent Los Angeles Times study,​ based on​ eleven executions spread over 27 years in​ California,​ state and federal taxpayers pay $250 million per execution.

Further cost breakdowns have taxpayers paying more than $114 million a​ year beyond the​ cost of​ simply imprisoning the​ convicts. This figure does not include the​ millions of​ dollars in​ additional court costs for post-conviction hearings in​ state and federal courts. Approximately $57.5 million annually,​ or​ $90,​000 more per year goes to​ housing each inmate on​ death row rather than in​ the​ general prison population.

The California Attorney General is​ believed to​ spend another $11 million,​ or​ 15% of​ his annual budget,​ on​ death penalty cases. the​ California Supreme Court spends nearly $12 million on​ appointed counsel for death row inmates. the​ federal court system spends over $12 million on​ defending death row inmates in​ federal court. the​ costs associated with the​ offices of​ county district attorneys for the​ prosecution of​ capital cases is​ estimated to​ be in​ the​ tens of​ millions of​ dollars each year. the​ office of​ the​ State Public Defender and the​ Habeas Corpus Resource Center spend another $22.3 million on​ defense for indigent defendants facing death.

Of course,​ there are those who would argue that there is​ no need for the​ kind of​ system – with its lengthy and complex judicial process for capital cases – that is​ presently set up under the​ Constitution. But these people would be mistaken. a​ process like this is​ necessary to​ assure that men and women are not executed for crimes they are innocent of. Constitutionally mandated safeguards are required to​ provide,​ among other things:

• Juries with clear sentencing guidelines,​ resulting in​ explicit provisions regarding mitigating and aggravating circumstances.

• Defendants with two trials – the​ first to​ determine his or​ her guilt or​ innocence,​ and if​ found guilty,​ a​ second trial to​ determine whether or​ not they should receive a​ death sentence.

• Defendants sentenced to​ death with oversight protection in​ the​ form of​ automatic,​ mandatory appeals to​ the​ California Supreme Court.

Yet,​ with these and other protections,​ there is​ still a​ strong risk innocents will be executed. That's why alternatives to​ death by government,​ such as​ mandatory minimums for all capital crimes,​ should be seriously considered. Under such a​ system,​ the​ very worst offenders,​ with the​ most aggravating of​ circumstances,​ could be given life in​ prison without the​ possibility of​ parole. This would save vast sums of​ tax dollars since it​ costs so much less to​ house an​ inmate for life than to​ pay for a​ capital case,​ its appeals,​ and related costs.

Those convicts who are physically and mentally capable of​ working could then perform jobs with a​ portion of​ their earnings going toward the​ cost of​ their incarceration,​ with more earnings earmarked for the​ victims and their families. This would not only save more taxpayer dollars,​ but would allow for punishment and restitution. if​ it​ is​ ultimately determined that the​ convict is​ innocent,​ they would still be alive to​ reclaim their freedom.

This type of​ system would enable the​ government to​ permanently segregate society's worst criminals from the​ population in​ general and to​ punish them without committing state-sanctioned murder. the​ freed up funds could be reinvested in​ our communities by generating better crime prevention measures. Safer communities could be created through better education,​ mental health care,​ drug and alcohol treatment,​ after-school programs,​ and extra police officers to​ work within the​ communities. Society would sustain the​ additional benefits associated with extending life-enhancing measurements rather than expanding the​ pain and suffering associated with bringing death to​ one of​ its own.

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