How To Kill Death-Row Costs

John Seiler:

I have a lot of problems with the death penalty. It is just to kill the worst criminals, who have removed themselves from civil society because of their murders and other high crimes. But I don’t trust the current California or U.S. governments to execute the right people. These governments themselves are lawless and laugh at justice.

Even so, it’s silly for anti-capital punishment advocates to argue their case because California’s death-row backlog is too costly. A new initiative being talked up claims that ending the death penalty, and putting death-row inmates back with the regular prison population, would save $200 million a year.

Reports the Fresno Bee, “Now, a growing chorus of death penalty critics who for years focused on moral arguments are making a pocketbook appeal to voters: Their ballot measure to abolish the death penalty focuses on the costs to taxpayers to execute a prisoner. They say they have collected enough signatures to get it on the Nov. 6 ballot.

“‘It is time to stop wasting money,’ said Natasha Minsker, statewide campaign manager for SAFE California, which proposed the measure. SAFE stands for Savings, Accountability and Full Enforcement.

“Proponents of the initiative say taxpayers will save $1 billion over five years by replacing the death penalty with life in prison without parole. Those savings, they say, would be better spent on unsolved rape and murder cases, and for hiring teachers and building roads. There are 722 condemned prisoners on death row — including 42 from the central San Joaquin Valley’.”

Well, if money is the issue, then there’s a simpler way to save it: Start executing those on death row.

California’s death penalty continues to be wound up in court cases. But Texas has been executing criminals for years with the approbation of the same federal courts.

So, why not just adopt Texas’ rules, to the letter, concerning executions? Of if that doesn’t work, ship the murderers to Texas for the executions. As in California, Texas uses lethal injections.

Texas executes about 25 criminals a year. Adjusting for population, the rate would be about 38 per year in California.

For our 722 condemned criminals, it would take about 19 years to send them to their eternal rewards. Start with the youngest members of Death Row to save on the long-term costs of incarceration.

Additions to the death-row population would be offset by those who died of natural causes.

So the savings would add up fast.

Jan. 31, 2012


Tags assigned to this article:
death penaltyJohn Seilerlethal injectionTexas

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