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Argument: Capital punishment costs more than life without parole

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Supporting quotations

Hugo Adam Bedau, Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University and writing for the ACLU, "The Case Against the Death Penalty", (1992) - "Considerable delay in carrying out the death sentence is unavoidable, given the procedural safeguards required by the courts in capital cases. Starting with empaneling the trial jury, murder trials take far longer when the death penalty is involved. Post-conviction appeals in death-penalty cases are far more frequent as well. All these factors increase the time and cost of administering criminal justice. The sobering lesson is that we can reduce such delay and costs only by abandoning the procedural safeguards and constitutional rights of suspects, defendants, and convicts, with the attendant high risk of convicting the wrong person and executing the innocent."


Bedau/ACLU, "The Case Against the Death Penalty", (1992) - "Capital punishment wastes resources. It squanders the time and energy of courts, prosecuting attorneys, defense counsel, juries, and courtroom and correctional personnel. It unduly burdens the system of criminal justice, and it is therefore counterproductive as an instrument for society's control of violent crime."


"Cost Studies", Death Penalty Focus - " 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 innnocent men and woman are not executed for crimes the 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."


Burley Mitchell, former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. (2000). - I really question whether the death penalty is worth having in terms of time and money. It has warped our court system. I think the time has come to decide whether it's worth the cost.[1]


John M. Bailey, former Chief State's Attorney, Connecticut. - "Every dollar we spend on a capital case is a dollar we can't spend anywhere elseā€¦ We have to let the public know what [the death penalty really] costs."[2]


Norman Kinne, Dallas County District Attorney. The Dallas Morning News. 8 Mar. 1992. - [E]ven though I'm a firm believer in the death penalty, I also understand what the cost is. If you can be satisfied with putting a person in the penitentiary for the rest of his life ... I think maybe we have to be satisfied with that as opposed to spending $1 million to try and get them executed. ... I think we could use (the money) better for additional penitentiary space, rehabilitation efforts, drug rehabilitation, education, (and) especially devote a lot of attention to juveniles.[3]


Jim Mattox, former Texas Attorney General, 1993. - Life without parole could save millions of dollars. In other words, it's cheaper to lock 'em up and throw away the key. ... As violent crime continues to escalate, it's something to consider.[4]


Thomas Sullivan, former U.S. attorney and co-chair of the Illinois Commission on Capital Punishment. Chicago Tribune. 15 May 2002. - I have been involved in the criminal-justice system for more than 45 years as a prosecutor and defense lawyer. I have come to the view that the state will make the best use of public funds by substituting life imprisonment for capital punishment.[5]


Bernard Anderson (D), member of the Nevada legislative commission, former member of the Nevada Assembly, News3, 2/23/2004. - The cost of doing it is as burdensome to the judicial system as a whole court system we're looking at an excess of a million dollars for a case.[6]


David Haley, Kansas Senator, The Kansas City Kensan, 12/16/2005. - The death penalty is immoral, inefficient and unproductive. It costs far less to lock these violent offenders for life than it does to weave through appeals and pay for them. It makes economic, social and moral sense to not have the death penalty on the books.[7]

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