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Death Penalty Point of View

Autor:   •  August 17, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,095 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,512 Views

Page 1 of 5

The death penalty has been a widely debated subject for many years with little effect on the current systems that are in place. There are valid arguments in support of the death penalty and equally valid arguments against the death penalty. Given the state of the economy and massive budget cuts at state level, I think it is indeed time to reevaluate the system that is currently in place.

Most people are unaware that it costs 2-5 times more to put someone to death than it does to keep that same person in prison for life. The higher cost is a result of appeals, additional procedures, and other legal aspects that drag the process out. In most cases a criminal could remain on death row for 15-20 years before the execution is carried out. As a result of this drawn out process, tax payers are affected negatively in the form of higher taxes. A majority of tax payers would like that money to be put toward something that is more beneficial to the community. Judges, attorneys, court reporters, clerks, and court facilities all require a big investment by the taxpayers (Messerli, 2010).

If the death penalty was replaced with life in prison without parole, it would cost millions less and still ensure that the public was protected. It would also eliminate the risk of wrongful execution. The money saved could be spent on programs that improve the communities that we live in. The millions of dollars saved could be spent on education, roads, police officers, 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, just to name a few (High Cost, 2008).

State and national politicians that promote the death penalty force the county government to be responsible for the costs of prosecutions and criminal trials. In some cases, the county is also responsible for the cost of defending the people that can’t afford an attorney. For example, Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas provide little or no funding from the state treasury for the defense of these individuals. In Lincoln County, Georgia, citizens have had to face repeated tax increases just to fund one capital case. Even in cases where the state provides some of the money for the counties to pursue the death penalty, the cost to the county can still be devastating. California was spending $10 million a year reimbursing counties for expert witnesses, investigators and other death-penalty defense costs. $2 million more was spent to help pay for the overall cost of murder trials in smaller counties as well. Some of the smaller counties that could not afford to prosecute death penalty cases were still not getting the help they needed. Many of these smaller counties have only one prosecutor with little or no experience in death penalty cases. In addition, they may have no investigators and only a single Superior Court judge (Dieter, 2011).

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