Browning: The Moral and Financial Cost of the Death Penalty | Letters

The death penalty is currently legal in 27 of the 50 states in the United States. Several methods, which vary from state to state, are available and used, including lethal injection, firing squad, and electrocution (Widgery, McInnes). While many see the current death penalty system as effective, as I once did, many issues arise after researching. It is not profitable; it is an expensive form of punishment; it clogs up the legal system; innocent people have been executed; it is the taxpayers who pay. Changes should be made to the current system of capital punishment.

The death penalty costs more than life imprisonment. The death penalty imposes a net cost on taxpayers compared to other methods of punishment such as life without parole. Endless appeals clutter the court system and simply cost taxpayers more money. There are legal fees, pre-trial costs, jury selection, trial, incarceration and appeals which all cost money. The Federal Bureau of Prisons spent approximately $ 4.7 million on the first five executions of 2020. The median death penalty costs $ 1.26 million; while the median cost of life incarceration is approximately $ 740,000 (costs).

There have been many people sentenced to death who have subsequently been declared innocent. Since 1973, at least 186 people have been wrongly sentenced to the death penalty. They were subsequently cleared, but at that point it didn’t matter because they had already lost their lives (Gaille).

Amber Widgery, Karen McInnes. States and capital punishment, www.ncsl.org

BROOKS BROWNING, Glenrock


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