Total Posts:9|Showing Posts:1-9
Jump to topic:

is death penalty expensive?

suttichart.denpruektham
Posts: 1,115
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/19/2014 1:07:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I've read somewhere that death penalty can be more expensive (monetarily) than a sentence like life-imprisonment, is this true? I mean how can that be even possible? How can the cost of a dose of poison be more expensive than feeding some one for life?

I am generally a supporter for death penalty for unusual reason, I think it is humane - mush more than rotten someone in jail, but mainly because I think it is efficient and cheap.

If the ground that death penalty is cheap, is untrue, I may have to reconsider my stance.
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/19/2014 7:09:22 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/19/2014 1:07:51 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
I've read somewhere that death penalty can be more expensive (monetarily) than a sentence like life-imprisonment, is this true? I mean how can that be even possible? How can the cost of a dose of poison be more expensive than feeding some one for life?

I am generally a supporter for death penalty for unusual reason, I think it is humane - mush more than rotten someone in jail, but mainly because I think it is efficient and cheap.

If the ground that death penalty is cheap, is untrue, I may have to reconsider my stance.

As far as I can tell, the info is biased.
There are easily costs associated to death penalty cases that are easy to identify (for example, the paying of the executioner, the cost of the drugs, the automatic appeal, and the last meal), while a cost of a prisoner is harder to determine.

However, I don't think these upfront costs are compared to the 30 year cost of keeping him alive (even though he is still alive for 10 years anyway), and they don't take into consideration the fact that the biggest expense (I assume) is the automatic appeal, which those lawyers and judges would be working anyway, so I am not sure if that is a real cost.
My work here is, finally, done.
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/19/2014 3:45:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/19/2014 1:07:51 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
I've read somewhere that death penalty can be more expensive (monetarily) than a sentence like life-imprisonment, is this true? I mean how can that be even possible? How can the cost of a dose of poison be more expensive than feeding some one for life?

I am generally a supporter for death penalty for unusual reason, I think it is humane - mush more than rotten someone in jail, but mainly because I think it is efficient and cheap.

If the ground that death penalty is cheap, is untrue, I may have to reconsider my stance.

In California, the appeals process is inordinately expensive and usually costs the state several million dollars worth of legal fees (since the state is obligated to provide a lawyer for the defendant). Some of those appeals can last 20-30 years, if not longer. Most inmates on death row do not die from capital punishment. Apparently the last person to actually die from the death penalty died almost 10 years ago: http://en.wikipedia.org....

It's funny in a really sad way because we can execute someone like Saddam in just a couple months after the sentencing.

I think in China, the process is much more expedient. Were that to be true here, the death penalty would be cheaper than life imprisonment.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
YYW
Posts: 36,394
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/20/2014 5:04:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/19/2014 1:07:51 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
I've read somewhere that death penalty can be more expensive (monetarily) than a sentence like life-imprisonment, is this true? I mean how can that be even possible? How can the cost of a dose of poison be more expensive than feeding some one for life?

I am generally a supporter for death penalty for unusual reason, I think it is humane - mush more than rotten someone in jail, but mainly because I think it is efficient and cheap.

If the ground that death penalty is cheap, is untrue, I may have to reconsider my stance.

The death penalty itself, even in the United States, isn't very expensive. It's the cost of hiring the executioner, acquiring the tripartite blend of execution chemicals, and operating the facilities.

A very common, and stupid, argument against the death penalty is to say that "it is really expensive" because of the appeals process. The reason this is a stupid argument is because the appeals process is distinct from the death penalty. The cost of appealing some sentence, therefore, cannot be looped in with the cost of the sentence itself.

I am adamantly against the death penalty, but the arguments that some opponents of it make are just dumb.
Tsar of DDO
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/20/2014 5:26:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/20/2014 5:04:43 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/19/2014 1:07:51 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:

A very common, and stupid, argument against the death penalty is to say that "it is really expensive" because of the appeals process. The reason this is a stupid argument is because the appeals process is distinct from the death penalty. The cost of appealing some sentence, therefore, cannot be looped in with the cost of the sentence itself.

The fact that appellate courts exist is why it is hard to establish a true cost, but I believe in every state, an appeal MUST be heard, while other cases, there must be cause. A brief (or whatever it's called) is made, but the case may not be reviewed.

So, by definition, it is more expensive due to the appeal, but it is hard to discern an true cost, especially if the murder charge with life in prison was also heard.
My work here is, finally, done.
YYW
Posts: 36,394
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/20/2014 6:40:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/20/2014 5:26:58 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 7/20/2014 5:04:43 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/19/2014 1:07:51 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:

A very common, and stupid, argument against the death penalty is to say that "it is really expensive" because of the appeals process. The reason this is a stupid argument is because the appeals process is distinct from the death penalty. The cost of appealing some sentence, therefore, cannot be looped in with the cost of the sentence itself.

The fact that appellate courts exist is why it is hard to establish a true cost, but I believe in every state, an appeal MUST be heard, while other cases, there must be cause. A brief (or whatever it's called) is made, but the case may not be reviewed.

Appellate courts are expensive. That does not change the fact that the cost of them is different from the cost of executing someone.

So, by definition, it is more expensive due to the appeal, but it is hard to discern an true cost, especially if the murder charge with life in prison was also heard.

It is not hard to discern true cost: the cost of chemicals + cost of facility = true cost.
Tsar of DDO
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/22/2014 4:27:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/20/2014 5:26:58 PM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
At 7/20/2014 5:04:43 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/19/2014 1:07:51 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:

A very common, and stupid, argument against the death penalty is to say that "it is really expensive" because of the appeals process. The reason this is a stupid argument is because the appeals process is distinct from the death penalty. The cost of appealing some sentence, therefore, cannot be looped in with the cost of the sentence itself.

The fact that appellate courts exist is why it is hard to establish a true cost, but I believe in every state, an appeal MUST be heard, while other cases, there must be cause. A brief (or whatever it's called) is made, but the case may not be reviewed.

So, by definition, it is more expensive due to the appeal, but it is hard to discern an true cost, especially if the murder charge with life in prison was also heard.

Agree. As I noted, the administration of the death penalty differs according to jurisdiction. In the US, the appeals process is generally core to administration of the death penalty...in other nations, it is not.

If the appeals process is core to the administration of the death penalty, then the expense of that process must be considered as part of the expense of administering the death penalty. The death penalty is first and foremost a legal process, with the execution only being the end result of that process.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Oromagi
Posts: 857
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/22/2014 6:01:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/19/2014 1:07:51 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
I am generally a supporter for death penalty for unusual reason, I think it is humane - mush more than rotten someone in jail, but mainly because I think it is efficient and cheap.

If the ground that death penalty is cheap, is untrue, I may have to reconsider my stance.

Well, you may have to reconsider your stance because the death penalty is way more expensive.

Trials are generally triple-cost: more high-power lawyers on both sides means higher billing + much longer jury selection and sentencing processes + appeals. When King County, Washington took on two high profile capital murder cases in the same year, 2011, they had to lay off 36 employees in the District Attorney's office to cover the project $2.4 million dollar budget overruns.

Jail is double to triple cost. Death row inmates in genpop tend to be catalysts for violence- any new infractions can only increase their the time before death so death row inmates are more motivated towards destrutive, suicidal behavior. Therefore, death row populations are kept in separate accommodations, requiring additional staff and facilities increases.
Most death row inmates spend 10-20 years in these specialized accommodations before the appeals process completes and the death sentence is carried out.
This is the single most expensive factor.

North Carolina estimates they could save $11 million/ year by eliminating the death penalty. Florida estimates they could save $51 million. California estimates they spend $63 million dollars/yr for its 721 death row inmates. Since the death penalty was restored in 1978, California estimates it has spent $4 billion to maintain capital punishment in that state. California's Dept. of Corrections now advises that it must either spend $400 million to update that state's Death Row housing or save the State $1 billion by converting all death row inmates to life without parole.

In states with smaller budgets and smaller death row populations, like Kansas and Colorado, the cost of each new death penalty equates to an elementary school budget.

In the largest DP states, Texas, Florida, and California have had to drastically reduce some sentences in order to maintain the Death Penalty. In Texas, some non-violent offenders have seen reductions on the order of 80% in order to afford the cost of putting a handful to death.

New Jersey restored its death penalty in 1982. The state conducted 228 capital trials, managed to get 60 death penalty convictions, but 57 of those were overturned on appeal. New Jersey abolished the death penalty in 2007 after spending $250 million dollars in additional costs for capital cases without actually executing a single person.

I don't expect the actual cost of execution is very expensive, although there must be security and facility costs, witness, autopsy, funeral, and media expenses.

One last very real expense is the cost of getting it wrong. Current DNA exoneration rates suggest that 1 in 25 death penalty convictions are innocent (although the one state that has DNA tested all of its death row cases- Illinois, ended up with 1 in 3 innocent and instantly abolished its death penalty). I imagine that a wrongful conviction payout goes way up when the innocent is on death row and the numbers get even higher if the innocent has been executed.
YYW
Posts: 36,394
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/22/2014 6:52:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
It's always interesting to me how people conceptually lump things that cannot be lumped together.

The cost of appeals is expensive, and that's not in dispute. What is in dispute is only how we talk about this. There is a demonstrable distinction between the cost of having a trial and going through the appeals process and the state sanctioned and ceremonial killing of a human being in the name of "justice." One happens in court rooms and through legal filings, the other happens in an execution chamber. It's not even a nuanced point; it's how the process works.

There might well be an argument to suggest that the appeals process is expensive and inefficient. It is, and so long as we have the death penalty, that's a good thing because if the state is going to kill people it would be unwise not to take every reasonable precaution in avoiding executing someone who is innocent. But, once again, that's an administrative cost and NOT an operational cost -hence why the two are distinct. And administrative costs must necessarily be what they are (if not more so) to reduce the possibility of justice being miscarried.

But, there are also going to be incredibly high administrative costs associated with incarcerating someone for life without the possibility of parole, or even sentencing people to long prison sentences. So, the argument from administrative cost against the death penalty is neither unique to the death penalty (meaning, it's going to be comparably expensive given the alternatives) nor is it consistent with justice's being justly facilitated (courts are more likely to make more mistakes when there is less scrutiny) -which is why this entire line of argumentation is stupid.

To review:

1. Administrative costs are not the same as operational costs.
2. Saying that the death penalty is expensive because of appeals costs necessarily confuses these two.
3. Regardless of whether the two are distinct, appeals costs are high for all capitol cases that may result in execution or otherwise.
4. Reducing administrative costs will come at the expense of justice.

So...

1. Failing to recognize the distinction between admin costs and op. costs is stupid.
2. Arguing that the criminal justice system should be more efficient is stupid because efficiency comes at the expense of justice.
Tsar of DDO