Vail Daily letter: Absurdity of the death penalty
“Cases without the death penalty cost $740,000, while cases where the death penalty is sought cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population. There are 714 inmates on California’s death row” — quote from Googling death penalty costs.
Dylann Storm Roof, 21, the shooter in the church in Charleston, South Carolina, who killed nine people has said he would plead guilty to all counts if the death penalty is not considered. This would save taxpayers approximately $5.2 million if the prosecutor would accept this plea, assuming Dylann lives to age 70.
I have no objections to the death penalty, but at a cost of millions in each case, it seems to make no sense at all. I assume these expenses mostly wind up in the pockets of the attorneys involved in the case, and that probably explains why these travesties continue. Since the death penalty has become purely a political issue, it has followed the path of so much of our politics in recent decades with the resultant complete mess both in Washington, D.C., and in many states. Just a few moments of thoughtful reflection on these issues it seems to me should make all of us opponents of the death penalty until such time it can be done efficiently at minimal cost without infringing on one’s civil liberties or due process. Our criminal justice system has gone crazy in dealing with this issue, and it seems to me it is the prosecutors who are in the best position to change this. I am a scientist with no legal background and would welcome comments from others who might shed light on why the current situation is better than my suggestion to abolish the current costly death penalty.