Today’s news includes the story about the Death Penalty Information Center’s new study of capital punishment costs. Released this week, and looking solely at the bottom line, the DPIC analysis demonstrates that significant monies can be saved by eliminating the death penalty. Since 1976, $2,000,000,000 (that’s two billion dollars) has been spent on capital punishment in the United States that would not have been spent if the death penalty were not an option.
Sure, the DPIC released its study this week in a blatant argument that today’s financial times call for the end of the death penalty, regardless of the other huge arguments against capital punishment – morally, ethically, etc. From the DPIC study:”[t]he promised benefits from the death penalty have not materialized …. If more states choose to end the death penalty, it will hardly be missed, and the economic savings will be significant.”
Also in today’s news: an inmate in California is asking to be sentenced to death. Why? He’s wanting to live on Death Row, because the prison facilities on California’s Death Row are so much nicer than his current prison digs. Billy Joe Johnson is serving 45 years for murder, and is in lockdown almost 24/7 every day. He’s waiting for the jury to return on a second murder charge — he’s been convicted, and he is waiting for his sentence. Billy Jo is asking for his jury to come back with death, so he can move into a better residence.
Seems like Billy Joe is helping the budgetary argument that the DPIC is advancing much more than he probably knows. If any state budget should be looking for ways to cut costs, it’s probably California….
Note: The DPIC has published its new report on its website if you are interesting in reading the entire study. Alteratively, the DPIC is offering a synopsis on its site if you don’t want to go thru all the details.