An Economic Analysis Of The Death Penalty

2523 words - 11 pages

Natasha Drain
Baker College
BUS 650
The cost associated with the death penalty is more expensive than housing someone in prison for life. The economic recession today has several states thinking of cutting-back cost by eliminating the death penalty to confront huge budget deficits. The death penalty is used as a strong deterrent, but has it stop crime, no. There is substantial evidence and research that shows the death penalty is economically inefficient and morally wrong. This paper will analyze the cost-benefit of the death penalty to show that other alternatives of capital punishment should be exercised by participating states. ...view middle of the document...

In a time of many budget cuts, states are pouring money into a system that shows an enormous decline in number of death sentences and executions that are being carried out in only certain few states in the country. While many states are facing further deficits, it is an appropriate time to reconsider if maintaining the costly death penalty system is being smart on crime. The research will look at the cost analysis of the death penalty, is it effective, or merely another pit that tax dollars are going into and could other alternatives exist that would incur a cost cheaper than the death penalty.
Purpose of the Study
The research will reveal that states are spending an enormous amount of money using the death penalty instead of life in prison to deter crime. This research will contend that states could save millions of dollars by abolishing the death penalty. The research will report the cost associated with the death penalty and life imprisonment as studied by various states. It will examine why the death penalty is so expensive and how states are looking into alternative methods of capital punishment. The research is comprised of opinions from studies done on the cost of the death penalty and does it really deter crime.
Literature Review
The United States has the highest prison population in the world at 737 people per 100,000 behind bars; another way to look at it would be that the United States also currently has 5%of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s incarcerated population. ( A study done in California revealed that, since 1978, California’s current system has cost the state’s taxpayers $4 billion more than a system that has life in prison without the possibility of parole (“LWOP”) as its most severe penalty. Recent studies reveal that if the current system is maintained, Californians will spend an additional $5 billion to $7 billion over the cost of LWOP to fund the broken system between now and 2050. In that time, roughly 740 more inmates will be added to death row, an additional fourteen executions will be carried out, and more than five hundred death-row inmates will die of old age or other causes before the state executes them(Alarcon, 2012). An Urban Institute study of Maryland's experience with the death penalty found that a single death-penalty trial cost $1.9 million more than a non-death-penalty trial. Since 1978, the cost to taxpayers for the five executions the state carried out was $37.2 million dollars — each. A recent Duke University study of North Carolina's death penalty costs found that the state could save $11 million a year by substituting life in prison for the death penalty. An earlier Duke study found that the state spent $2.1 million more on a death penalty case than on one seeking a life sentence.
Opportunity Cost- The cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action. Put another way, the benefits you could have...

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