The death penalty is one of the most controversial issues we have in our country today. The people are divided between supporting and opposing the death penalty. The supporters would say that it is a deterrent for future crimes. They would also say that taxpayer dollars are not going to pay for the care of these individuals. The opposition would say that the cost of the death penalty is actually higher than the cost of a life sentence. They also find that the deterrent argument is debatable. (meggiem, 2012) There is evidence that contradicts the supporters’ claims.
First, there is evidence that suggests that the death penalty costs more than a life sentence. Take a look at what goes into the death penalty for the state of California. Death penalty trials take on average about two years, starting from arraignment to verdict. (Magagnini, 1988) The cost of a death penalty trial is around $592,500. That is almost six times more than that of a murder trial, which is $93,000.(Magagnini, 1988) Death penalty trials cost around $7,500 per day for 79 days on average. Standard murder cases cost around $6,200 per day and last around 15 days on average. (Magagnini, 1988) Also, that’s state spends around $2.8 million for death row inmates’ special housing. $1.8 million for prosecution on appeal, and $7.6 million defending condemned prisoners on appeal. Overall, it costs about $90 million a year for the death penalty. (Magagnini, 1988) Also there are the federal costs, on average it is 1,000 hours of attorney time which translates to about $75,000 from the taxpayers. (Magagnini, 1988)
Another argument the supporters like to throw around is that the death penalty is a deterrent for future crimes. Well, there is evidence to contradict that. The Death Penalty Information Center has found that murder rates are higher in states that have the death penalty. (Booth, 2013) To be more specific, death penalty states have 35 percent more murders than states that have abolished the death penalty. (Booth, 2013) Deterrence is virtually impossible to determine. There is no way to tell if a murderer is aware that the state they committed their crime in had the death penalty or not when they committed it. Even if they knew, there is no way of telling if it had an impact on their decision to commit the crime. (Booth, 2013) Also, many states have the death penalty but it is rarely used compared to other sentences. For example, Colorado, since 1967 has executed only one prisoner in 1997. (Booth, 2013)
There is also the possibility that a death row inmate could be innocent. This means that they would be killing...