Letting Go of the Death Penalty

Richard C. Dieter, Executive Director of Death Penalty Information Center, had an excellent article published by the Huffington Post that makes a compelling argument for “letting go of the death penalty.”

Read the article by clicking HERE.

Dieter examines the death penalty for what it truly is: a costly, time consuming, resource expending, and flawed public policy. In this time of financial crisis, Dieter questions the death penalty’s existence as public expenditures like education and health care are in jeopardy.

Consider these facts from the article:

-California spends $138 million per year on their death penalty “but only executes less than one person every two years”
-California is now planning a new death row that will cost the state $400 million
-Maryland’s death penalty over the past 28 years has cost $37 million per execution
-Florida spends $24 million per execution
-California spends $250 million per execution

Tennessee is not an exception. The state is in a serious financial crisis. And yet, Tennessee is spending millions on its death penalty. Meanwhile, the true costs are unknown because the state does not have a centralized data collecting method. In this time of economic recession, how can Tennessee justify the exorbitant costs of the death penalty and not even know what it is truly spending?

Proponents of the death penalty advocate that the death penalty is necessary to be tough on crime.

“In the past, people were often scared into believing that the death penalty was needed to be tough on crime. Today, the death penalty is more like a bridge to nowhere–an expensive government program that does not advance the general good. It may be time to let this extravagance go.”

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