death penalty costs $308M per execution in CA

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Kindi
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death penalty costs $308M per execution in CA

Postby Kindi » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:12 pm

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me ... 5671.story

"Taxpayers have spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment in California since it was reinstated in 1978, or about $308 million for each of the 13 executions carried out since then, according to a comprehensive analysis of the death penalty's costs."
Last edited by Kindi on Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Ardessa Moonblade » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:26 am

Wow... that is just pathetic. On so many levels. 4 Billion dollars would certainly fill a lot of potholes, if nothing else.
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Corth » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:51 am

Have a feeling that the cost per execution is a lot less in Texas. :)
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Kindi » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:36 pm

"In Texas, a death penalty case costs an average of $2.3 million, about three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at the highest security level for 40 years. (Dallas Morning News, March 8, 1992)"
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Teflor Lyorian » Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:53 pm

And some of the posters here want the same people to handle our healthcare.
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Kindi » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:49 pm

it costs so much to kill because we try so hard to keep them alive. if anything it's a vindication of health care... death row inmates live a really long time. lol
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Sarvis » Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:18 pm

Any idea why the cost is so high? It seems ridiculous. Shouldn't an execution cost, maybe, a couple bucks in electricity? Or how much does a bullet cost? If we're going to kill prisoners, let's at least do it efficiently.

Oddly, one of the reasons I've supported the death penalty in the past is that I'd rather not pay for the room/board of a serial killer for life... but if it's more expensive to execute them...
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Corth » Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:59 pm

The cost is in all the legal maneuvering required to actually execute someone. California probably makes it almost impossible to actually execute anyone, whereas Texas has a more streamlined process.

California is basically an example of a broken system. They should probably just get rid of capital punishment and call it a day. I would dare say that Texas' system is working - even if it's more expensive than keeping someone alive for life, the message being sent by an execution has extraordinary value. Ultimately though I find myself squarely against capital punishment because it's clear that innocent people have been put on death row and indeed executed. The possibility of such a mistake outweighs all of the benefits of capital punishment.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Teflor Lyorian » Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:13 pm

California would probably do well to drop capital punishment based on the cost.
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Sarvis » Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:45 pm

Corth wrote: the message being sent by an execution has extraordinary value.


I've never believed that. Criminals do not, generally, commit crimes with the expectation that they will get caught. If they do not think they will get caught, why should the message of such an extreme punishment stop them?
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby kiryan » Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:16 am

Criminals in general may not, but some criminals do and there is anecdotal evidence of the deterrent effect. Diane Feinstein once said that. There is statistical evidence of this as well. I recently read a book with 8 points of view, 4 pro 4 con, lawyers, judges, and that governor who commuted all death sentences to life in prison.

The judge's view was particularly interesting, it was a California case. Man was sentenced to die, the automatic appeal resulted in a stay (2 liberals vs 1 conservative), the supreme court overruled. A new appeal came in later that night, the same judges issued another stay same vote. The supreme court reversed them again and said knock it off. So whats that like 4 rulings in 24 hours? Liberal justices in CA basically slow down all executions, it doesn't matter what the merits of the case are. the appeals are guaranteed stays.

The reason the death penalty doesn't work in california is liberal justices and a system that is designed by judges, legislators and buireacrats to not execute people.
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Corth » Sat Jun 25, 2011 2:41 am

Sarvis,

I'm not sure if the important message so much is one of deterrence to criminals. I kind of agree that the deterrent aspect of capital punishment is overrated. Rather, I would suggest that there is a message sent to the law abiding people that the government is on your side and will swiftly and mercilessly deal with the most extreme criminal offenders. And I think there is value in sending that message to your people. Regardless of whether you agree with that or not - just my personal opinion - I still think that whatever value there is to that message (or lack of value) is outweighed by the possibility of unjust executions.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Sarvis » Sat Jun 25, 2011 3:06 am

Hmm... ok, I can buy that. Except for the "swiftly" part... these things seem to take years before the actual execution don't they? Must be comforting to know the person who attacked your family is on the way though...
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby kiryan » Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:19 pm

Debating the death penalty, Hugo Bedau and Paul Cassell
page 27
average per year over the decade of the 1990s

22,000 # of murders
15,000 # of arrests
13,500 # of prosecutions
10,000 # of convictions
2-4,000 guesswork on the # for the death penalty
300 # sentenced to death
55 # executed

Now my problem here is that out of all these murders, we sentence 300 to death. Thats 3% of convicted murders. When you look at people actually executed or % of all murders its lower. This is clearly a punishment reserved at least by the numbers for the worst of the worst offenders. But instead of accepting that some criminals should be allowed to be put to death for their crimes, we have a anti death penalty machine (mostly liberal) that attempts to stop them by using every monkey wrench it can in the gears... delaying executions for dozens of years in most cases. Is this reasonable?

All the arguments for and against basically come down to a tug of war between those who think we should execute and those who think we shouldn't. They create the problems that the other side lambasts. Anti folks have made it impossible and prohibitively expensive to do so with irresponsible court challenges and judicial machinations. Pro folks have set up their own kangaroo courts and sham lawyers and seek the death penalty irresponsibly... generally to make political points "im tough on crime" and even for racist reasons. The system is not perfect, but we're talking about the worst of the worst... and the rare mistake... And we're talking about a jury of your peers and a prosecutor elected presumably for their stances on prosecuting crimes... If a prosecutor is trying to make a name for himself, its probably because thats what his constituents want. We embarked on this war on drugs 20 years ago... because American's overall were fed up with drug related crime... Was that wrong?

Lately I've been feeling anti death penalty because of cost, shoddy police work, terrible pro bono lawyers and irresponsible prosecutors making a name for themselves. However i'm generally in support of the idea that society can put someone to death. I don't mind the death penalty, but I mind how the death penalty works today... because a minority with lots of lawyers fights it. I don't think I could support it in California, but I could support it in Texas or Alabama (both swiftly execute the death penalty, relatively speaking that is). I would support California adopting Texas' system. I would also support the death penalty for rape, especially of a child... but as far as I know the supreme court pretty much said you can only execute for murder in the first degree with aggravating circumstances.

On the deterrence effect or lack there of... On roughly page 59. The chapter author lays out this scenario, imagine if every time anyone committed murder, they were immediately struck down by lightning. Can you imagine under this scenario the murder rate staying the same or even going up? Of course not. With the way our death penalty functions... it may not have any deterrent effect, but thats not because being put to death has no deterrent. Its because 22 years of appeals and a 3% chance of getting the death penalty means criminals don't reasonably expect to be put to death... even for savage crimes.

Also, this author notes that the proposition that death penalty is not deterrent... because there is no "proof" it deters is a fallacy. At worst the deterrent effect is disputable, but that doesn't mean it isn't a deterrent especially when logic and anecdotal evidence dictates it does. A lighthouse warns ships away from a craggy bluff, no ships crash into the bluff, we have no proof of the deterrent effect so we tear down the lightouse? Also consider that not all murders are of the same type... some murders may be dissuaded others may not. Also consider anecdotal evidence where one criminal during a crime convinces his partner not to kill hostages because of the death penalty. The hostages testify to this... was there no deterrent effect? Also consider that a murder put to death... necessarily deters any future murders by that murderer... proof of this also exists. Also there are bands of thieves who make a point not to have guns why, because having a gun results in two things A) a more serious charge and B) the possibility someone gets killed. There is adequate evidence that there is a deterrent effect, whether you can "prove" it or not.

Lastly again I will dispute the capital punishment is racist because x% of death row inmates are african american and only y% of the population. The statistics are true, but the problem is that most police officers are white, killing a police officer gets you the death penalty much more frequently than not killing a police officer. When you look at white on white and black on black death penalty rates and exclude police officers, whites get executed at a slightly higher rate. So basically the statistic is being used irresonspibly.
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Corth » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:14 am

If you think about it, the idea of locking people up in a cage for decades is kind of shocking. It's obviously something that only human beings could come up with. In the eternal power struggle between the individual and the group, the idea of incarceration represents the utter domination of the individual by the group. On one hand it is inconceivable that human society could function without such a tool - and yet on the other hand it should be recognized that putting someone in a cage - taking away a portion of their life - should be something done only when there is no other choice.

Beside the death penalty, the ultimate punishment is life in prison. You are put in a cage for the rest of your natural life because you cannot ever again be trusted to freely mingle in society given your actions. You have done something so cruel, so despicable, that you will never again be allowed the basic human right of self determination.

As far as I can tell, the death penalty is sort of an extension of life incarceration. We're going to remove you from society, but rather than house and feed you until your natural life expires, we're going to pull the plug right now.

If the criminal justice system was infailable, there would be no need for life sentences. If there was 100% certainty of guilt, and it was necessary to remove the offender from society forever, then you may as well kill the guy. Why bother housing him, feeding him, providing him with healthcare, etc? You have concluded that he must be removed from society forever, you have absolute certainty that he committed the underlying offense that formed this conclusion.... why keep him alive?

The very idea of life imprisonment implies that the criminal justice system is flawed. If nobody was wrongly convicted, you wouldn't need life imprisonment. You could just execute those particularly vile offenders who cannot ever return to society. But people ARE wrongly convicted. Which is why I think instead of killing people, the equitable thing to do is feed them, house them, provide them with healthcare, etc., until such time as they die naturally, or they are proven to be innocent.
Last edited by Corth on Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Teflor Lyorian » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:17 am

Justice implemented by a government is always about control and domination over the individual. It's a fine line that's frequently trampled by governments. It just depends on whether or not the governed accept the implementation.
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Kindi » Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:34 pm

i think we should bring back corporal punishment, reserve incarceration for the worst, and carry thru swift execution (<1 year) for the worst of the worst. for the latter two, with very strict proof requirements that should filter out most. and while i'm dreaming, i'd want a complete overhaul of criminal laws, to remove all of those 'simple' felonies that ppl can commit without even realizing it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ ... story.html

"Suggest adding the whipping post to America’s system of criminal justice and most people recoil in horror. But offer a choice between five years in prison or 10 lashes and almost everybody picks the lash. What does that say about prison? … Never in the history of the world has a country locked up so many of its people. … Not even the most progressive reformer has a plan to reduce the prison population by 85 percent. I do: Bring back the lash. Give convicts the choice of flogging in lieu of incarceration. …

Corporal punishment, said one early advocate of prisons, was a relic of “barbarous” British imperialism ill-suited to “a new country, simple manners, and a popular form of government.” … State by state, starting with Pennsylvania in 1790, … corporal punishment was struck from the criminal code. The idea was that penitentiaries would heal the criminally ill just as hospitals cured the physically sick. It didn’t work. … Of course some people are simply too dangerous to release — pedophiles, terrorists and the truly psychopathic, for instance. But they’re relatively few in number. … Incarceration destroys families and jobs, exactly what people need to have in order to stay away from crime."
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby kiryan » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:05 pm

I don't like life in prison... I disagree with your assessment Corth that its because of a falliable justice system.

Life in prison vs death has nothing to do with mistakes, it has to do with your world view aka religion on whether you believe killing and revenge is justice or whether killing is always wrong.... and as you stated, whether a person may be allowed back into society because they are a danger to society.

I don't really think we have a punishment / retribution system today, we have a reform and "protect" society system... Kindi thats why the suggestion you linked isn't really plausible... if its even a good idea (do you want a society that is going around claiming revenge all the time... reminds me of what I read about islamic socieities)?

I am feeling more and more in favor of an exile model for criminals... I suggested it in another topic. As corth points out, confining a human being to a cage and providing for all their needs for the rest of their life... is something only man could come up with. If we deem these people so dangerous to society that we must protect society from them... then we should just kill them. If we are going to lock them up for their entire life... why not just execute them.

But maybe we can protect society without life in prison or death... perhaps certain crimes should result in you losing your citizenship and I suggest that we could pay a foreign country money to accept our exiled criminals as a initial starting point (with the barest of humanitarian safeguards, we wouldn't want them to just shoot them off the plane). From there, they are on their own to make it in the world. I don't care where, but I suggest someplace in Africa. Those that survive their exile can then reapply for immigration with everyone else in the world (violent criminals are automatically denied and I'm basically fine with that). I think they had it right in the old days... an exiled person who was caught was immediately executed. Perhaps we could be more humane and place time limits on exile = to prison sentences... for example murder might get you a 20 year exile with reinstatement of citizenship at the end of 20 years. Fraud maybe 1 year in exile etc etc etc...

I believe ganhdi or the dali lama said something to the effect of capital punishment is an evil inflicted by "government" because people need to absolve themselves of any guilt for performing it. He then quoted somethign from the bible I think to the effect of do no evil. That made sense to me, not enough for me to be anti death penalty however.
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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Corth » Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:10 pm

Other than the various constitutional hurdles I have no problem with a model where we take away citizenship from our criminals and deport them. It would probably be cheaper than putting them in a cage for life. It does satisfy the protection of society factor - but lacks in the retribution department.

Like Kindi, I would like to see a lot of things decriminalized. And drug crimes is where you can start. From my perspective, the war against drugs has caused an enormous amount of unnecessary misery - similar in scale to what happened during the Holocaust. I recall reading that at any given time there are something like a million people incarcerated in this country due to drug crimes. That is just not acceptable. Legalizing all drugs would destroy the black market, thus putting the gangsters out of business. It would lower the price of drugs to the point that the rate of petty crimes would go down. It would free up money for treatment (as opposed to incarceration). It would also recognize that adults should have the right to put into their bodies whatever it is they want - even if we don't think it's such a great idea. Moreover, I believe that the rate of usage would actually decline - as it did once alcohol prohibition was removed.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Re: death penalty costs $308m per execution

Postby Sarvis » Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:44 pm

Corth wrote: but lacks in the retribution department.


Well, you could just send them to one of those third world factories. In a few years they'd be missing limbs or die in a fire! Ooh, or die from inhaling toxic fumes... :P
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Re: death penalty costs $308M per execution in CA

Postby kiryan » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:45 am

I think there would be plenty of retribution in exile... especially if they start off somewhere like congo.

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