Friday, June 18, 2010

Ima Gonna Tell You Why

I do not agree with the death penalty.

And it's not because I'm a bleeding heart liberal - which I kinda am - or because I abhor violence.

It's because it's expensive.

Really really expensive.

A friend posted an entry on her blog today about the execution by firing squad of Ronnie Lee Gardner with the comment that "if you're going to do it".

And certainly I do not disagree with her statement.

However, Utah didn't exactly do it in a particularly timely manner and that's really my issue.

25 years Gardner sat on death row before his execution.

Do you know what that translates to in dollars and cents/sense?

Certainly it depends upon which state the accused is standing trial and subsequently housed. But the figures range anywhere from $300,000 to $740,000 MORE just for the initial trial than if the death penalty were not sought.

As for housing? It costs anywhere from $90,000 to $175,000 MORE than the typical average of $40,000 per YEAR to house a death row inmate.

In the state of Maryland it costs the state more than 37 million dollars to try and house a death row inmate until his execution.

So, if we can assume that Ronnie Lee Gardner's trial cost $500,000 and his subsequent appeals and motions cost an additional $500,000 (these are conservative but, I think, reasonable estimates) and then it cost the state $172,500 (the average of $90,000 and $175,000 + $40,000 for an average maximum security prisoner) PER YEAR to house him for 25 years...

We're looking at a total estimated cost of nearly 5 and 1/2 MILLION dollars. Whereas he could have been tried and housed for just over $2 million for twice that long.

Just another reason why I shake my head in disbelief when a Republican tells me he's fiscally conservative and yet supports the death penalty.

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