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Cost of Death Penalty vs. Life Imprisonment

xXCryptoXx
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10/2/2015 10:27:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
A teacher of mine claimed that putting someone in jail for a lifetime is cheaper than giving them the death penalty because of all the legal fees. Can anyone fact check this? Intuitively, I would think that life imprisonment would be more expensive. Which is more expensive in tax payer dollars?
Nolite Timere
MisterMittens
Posts: 3,660
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10/2/2015 10:40:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/2/2015 10:27:20 PM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
A teacher of mine claimed that putting someone in jail for a lifetime is cheaper than giving them the death penalty because of all the legal fees.
What legal fees? The fees from the super-hyper-mega-overextended trials that end up costing a tonnnnn of money?
Those exist regardless of the punishment that the court decides on.
The Death Penalty merely adds a few weeks to the proceedings as compared to something like a Life Sentence: http://www.courts.wa.gov...
And then you'd have to pay for life imprisonment over decades.
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Midnight1131
Posts: 1,643
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10/2/2015 10:42:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/2/2015 10:27:20 PM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
A teacher of mine claimed that putting someone in jail for a lifetime is cheaper than giving them the death penalty because of all the legal fees. Can anyone fact check this? Intuitively, I would think that life imprisonment would be more expensive. Which is more expensive in tax payer dollars?

Yes, the death penalty is more expensive. This has been noted through studies from different states, California, Nevada, Seattle.
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kasmic
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10/2/2015 11:00:09 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/2/2015 10:27:20 PM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
A teacher of mine claimed that putting someone in jail for a lifetime is cheaper than giving them the death penalty because of all the legal fees. Can anyone fact check this? Intuitively, I would think that life imprisonment would be more expensive. Which is more expensive in tax payer dollars?

http://deathpenalty.org...
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TBR
Posts: 9,991
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10/2/2015 11:43:48 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/2/2015 10:27:20 PM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
A teacher of mine claimed that putting someone in jail for a lifetime is cheaper than giving them the death penalty because of all the legal fees. Can anyone fact check this? Intuitively, I would think that life imprisonment would be more expensive. Which is more expensive in tax payer dollars?

Yea, this is not even a question. Just search. There are a good number of sources for this. It is VERY expensive to do a death penalty case. Life in prison is much less expensive.
TBR
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10/2/2015 11:44:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/2/2015 10:27:20 PM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
A teacher of mine claimed that putting someone in jail for a lifetime is cheaper than giving them the death penalty because of all the legal fees. Can anyone fact check this? Intuitively, I would think that life imprisonment would be more expensive. Which is more expensive in tax payer dollars?

http://deathpenalty.org...

The death penalty is much more expensive than life without parole because the Constitution requires a long and complex judicial process for capital cases. This process is needed in order to ensure that innocent men and woman are not executed for crimes they did not commit, and even with these protections the risk of executing an innocent person can not be completely eliminated.

If the death penalty was replaced with a sentence of Life Without the Possibility of Parole*, which costs millions less and also ensures that the public is protected while eliminating the risk of an irreversible mistake, the money saved could be spent on programs that actually improve the communities in which we live. The millions of dollars in savings could be spent on: education, roads, police officers and public safety programs, after-school programs, drug and alcohol treatment, child abuse prevention programs, mental health services, and services for crime victims and their families.

*More than 3500 men and women have received this sentence in California since 1978 and NOT ONE has been released, except those few individuals who were able to prove their innocence.

California could save $1 billion over five years by replacing the death penalty with permanent imprisonment.

California taxpayers pay $90,000 more per death row prisoner each year than on prisoners in regular confinement.
YYW
Posts: 36,357
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10/3/2015 1:07:37 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/2/2015 10:27:20 PM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
A teacher of mine claimed that putting someone in jail for a lifetime is cheaper than giving them the death penalty because of all the legal fees. Can anyone fact check this? Intuitively, I would think that life imprisonment would be more expensive. Which is more expensive in tax payer dollars?

Your teacher is right, and the reason is because of the court costs and legal fees associated with appeals in death penalty cases. They go into the tens of millions, more often than not. But that's ok, because justice shouldn't be the kind of thing that we're concerned about money over. If we as a society are going to proceed with executing another person, to not go through that process --costly as it may be-- would be to invite the miscarriage of justice.

I don't know that this specifically gives you the reference point you're looking for, but it might help to sort of outline the costs associated with the death penalty:

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
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sweetbreeze
Posts: 88
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10/3/2015 5:24:13 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
What my opinion is, is that the death penalty is futile. It's final, it doesn't waste time. Once it's done, it's done. Once someone dies, they die. I used to think it was okay for people to face the death penalty committing certain crimes, but now I'm more aware and think differently. Once the death penalty is performed, it can't be taken back. Whereas in lifetime imprisonment, it gives the criminals time to rethink what they have done, to reform, to become a better person and make society better. It at least gives them a chance to do that, since they're alive. Of course, not all of them would want to reform, or think about what they did wrong. But keeping them alive and not taking their life at least gives them a chance to do so.
Yonko
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10/4/2015 1:40:59 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 12:11:43 AM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
I had no idea. I guess this gives me even more reason to oppose the death penalty. Thank you guys.

What is your main reason for being against the death penalty...? This is literally the most commonly used argument against it...
xXCryptoXx
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10/4/2015 2:16:07 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 1:40:59 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 12:11:43 AM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
I had no idea. I guess this gives me even more reason to oppose the death penalty. Thank you guys.

What is your main reason for being against the death penalty...? This is literally the most commonly used argument against it...

I believe that no life should ever be needlessly taken, and that since the death penalty is never necessary, it should therefore not be put into use.
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Yonko
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10/4/2015 2:38:20 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 2:16:07 AM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
At 10/4/2015 1:40:59 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 12:11:43 AM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
I had no idea. I guess this gives me even more reason to oppose the death penalty. Thank you guys.

What is your main reason for being against the death penalty...? This is literally the most commonly used argument against it...

I believe that no life should ever be needlessly taken, and that since the death penalty is never necessary, it should therefore not be put into use.

Under the retributive model of justice, the death penalty is necessary to punish those who have committed pre-meditated murders. What's the purpose of the justice system if not to punish criminals in accordance with their crimes?
Yonko
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10/4/2015 2:44:43 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 2:16:07 AM, xXCryptoXx wrote:

I believe that no life should ever be needlessly taken,

Also, I presume the basis for that belief is the existence of a right to life. But why should a person who has purposefully taken someone else's life still possess that right for himself? Shouldn't such an act result in the forfeiture of his own right to life?
Varrack
Posts: 2,410
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10/4/2015 7:09:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 2:38:20 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:16:07 AM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
At 10/4/2015 1:40:59 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 12:11:43 AM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
I had no idea. I guess this gives me even more reason to oppose the death penalty. Thank you guys.

What is your main reason for being against the death penalty...? This is literally the most commonly used argument against it...

I believe that no life should ever be needlessly taken, and that since the death penalty is never necessary, it should therefore not be put into use.

Under the retributive model of justice, the death penalty is necessary to punish those who have committed pre-meditated murders. What's the purpose of the justice system if not to punish criminals in accordance with their crimes?

So under your standard, people who rape should be raped? That's not a justice system I think is ethically sound.
Yonko
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10/4/2015 7:32:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/4/2015 7:09:16 PM, Varrack wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:38:20 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 2:16:07 AM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
At 10/4/2015 1:40:59 AM, Yonko wrote:
At 10/4/2015 12:11:43 AM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
I had no idea. I guess this gives me even more reason to oppose the death penalty. Thank you guys.

What is your main reason for being against the death penalty...? This is literally the most commonly used argument against it...

I believe that no life should ever be needlessly taken, and that since the death penalty is never necessary, it should therefore not be put into use.

Under the retributive model of justice, the death penalty is necessary to punish those who have committed pre-meditated murders. What's the purpose of the justice system if not to punish criminals in accordance with their crimes?

So under your standard, people who rape should be raped? That's not a justice system I think is ethically sound.

No, that takes the model too literally. Retributive justice doesn't mandate that crimes be punished with reciprocal infliction of the same exact crime. What it does say is that when someone violates a fundamental right (e.g. life, autonomy, property), they forfeit that same right for themselves. A crime like rape, at its core, is a violation of autonomy and should therefore be punished with a restriction on the rapist's own right to autonomy (i.e. jail time). Similarly, pre-meditated murder is a violation of the right to life and therefore necessitates the death penalty.
Vox_Veritas
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10/5/2015 2:26:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Unfortunately, under our current system the death penalty is more expensive (which is a shame, because if it weren't for all that extra legal stuff an execution could be dirt cheap).
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Greyparrot
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10/5/2015 2:32:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/5/2015 2:26:57 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
Unfortunately, under our current system the death penalty is more expensive (which is a shame, because if it weren't for all that extra legal stuff an execution could be dirt cheap).

Chinese style, family pays for the bullet?
Vox_Veritas
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10/5/2015 2:40:24 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/5/2015 2:32:53 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 10/5/2015 2:26:57 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
Unfortunately, under our current system the death penalty is more expensive (which is a shame, because if it weren't for all that extra legal stuff an execution could be dirt cheap).

Chinese style, family pays for the bullet?

No, the state is more than capable of paying for a noticeably less than $100 bullet. Just going by bullet costs the state could execute a million people and it still wouldn't cost them very much.
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TBR
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10/6/2015 4:43:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/5/2015 2:40:24 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 10/5/2015 2:32:53 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 10/5/2015 2:26:57 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
Unfortunately, under our current system the death penalty is more expensive (which is a shame, because if it weren't for all that extra legal stuff an execution could be dirt cheap).

Chinese style, family pays for the bullet?

No, the state is more than capable of paying for a noticeably less than $100 bullet. Just going by bullet costs the state could execute a million people and it still wouldn't cost them very much.

Costs really isn't the best argument regardless. It just has to be understood (often is not) by people who support the death penalty that there is no cost savings.
Todd0611
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10/13/2015 4:45:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/6/2015 4:43:44 PM, TBR wrote:
At 10/5/2015 2:40:24 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 10/5/2015 2:32:53 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 10/5/2015 2:26:57 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
Unfortunately, under our current system the death penalty is more expensive (which is a shame, because if it weren't for all that extra legal stuff an execution could be dirt cheap).

Chinese style, family pays for the bullet?

No, the state is more than capable of paying for a noticeably less than $100 bullet. Just going by bullet costs the state could execute a million people and it still wouldn't cost them very much.

Costs really isn't the best argument regardless. It just has to be understood (often is not) by people who support the death penalty that there is no cost savings.

Hi, TBR, I like to read your input, because from the short time I've been on this site, your comments are insightful, and from what I can tell, you don't seem to let emotion cloud your judgment. That being said, I have generally supported the death penalty for most of my life. Part of that is because if you murder someone (pre-meditated, cold blooded), there needs to be a harsh enough penalty for the crime. I used to think that it would be cheaper, but since these capital cases get dragged out for years on end, obviously, the costs go through the roof. I haven't looked into it that much, and I come from the viewpoint of, what kind of life does someone have if they are sentenced to life without parole? I would think that spending 20+ years in prison would really impact someone psychologically in a very negative way. The crimes that are committed in prison by a "lifer", have impact on those they interact with who are eventually going to get out. If they have no hope, no future, what is the point of keeping them alive for all those years, until they pass away due to old age. That may sound callous, and I'll admit I have no experience with being locked up for a long period of time, but I can't see myself wanting to live in prison for my lifetime.

I do not believe that the death penalty is truly a deterrent to those individuals who are going to kill someone, no matter what the cost to them. It may give pause to some people who think about trying to get away with murder, but probably doesn't impact those people who know for sure that they're going to kill. I just can't see the point in locking someone up for life, and the state having to foot the bill. Please give me some ideas as to why life without parole would be more acceptable.
TBR
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10/19/2015 4:51:00 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/13/2015 4:45:02 PM, Todd0611 wrote:
At 10/6/2015 4:43:44 PM, TBR wrote:
At 10/5/2015 2:40:24 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 10/5/2015 2:32:53 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 10/5/2015 2:26:57 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
Unfortunately, under our current system the death penalty is more expensive (which is a shame, because if it weren't for all that extra legal stuff an execution could be dirt cheap).

Chinese style, family pays for the bullet?

No, the state is more than capable of paying for a noticeably less than $100 bullet. Just going by bullet costs the state could execute a million people and it still wouldn't cost them very much.

Costs really isn't the best argument regardless. It just has to be understood (often is not) by people who support the death penalty that there is no cost savings.

Hi, TBR, I like to read your input, because from the short time I've been on this site, your comments are insightful, and from what I can tell, you don't seem to let emotion cloud your judgment. That being said, I have generally supported the death penalty for most of my life. Part of that is because if you murder someone (pre-meditated, cold blooded), there needs to be a harsh enough penalty for the crime. I used to think that it would be cheaper, but since these capital cases get dragged out for years on end, obviously, the costs go through the roof. I haven't looked into it that much, and I come from the viewpoint of, what kind of life does someone have if they are sentenced to life without parole? I would think that spending 20+ years in prison would really impact someone psychologically in a very negative way. The crimes that are committed in prison by a "lifer", have impact on those they interact with who are eventually going to get out. If they have no hope, no future, what is the point of keeping them alive for all those years, until they pass away due to old age. That may sound callous, and I'll admit I have no experience with being locked up for a long period of time, but I can't see myself wanting to live in prison for my lifetime.

I do not believe that the death penalty is truly a deterrent to those individuals who are going to kill someone, no matter what the cost to them. It may give pause to some people who think about trying to get away with murder, but probably doesn't impact those people who know for sure that they're going to kill. I just can't see the point in locking someone up for life, and the state having to foot the bill. Please give me some ideas as to why life without parole would be more acceptable.

Well, thanks. Right back at you.

Short note, yea, the death penalty is not a deterrent. My only guess is that when a situation there is no way to reason that way. Further, after the first capital offense, any others seem beneficial to the criminal.
fromantle
Posts: 274
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10/21/2015 6:41:39 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Anything connected with lawyers costs a fortune after all they have to live handsomely and lets not forget what a wonderful public service they supply.
Besides without the law we would have chaos.