Pro: Executions are not worth it
May 8, 2012 • 255 views
Filed under Voice
California’s capital punishment system is expensive, bias and obsolete.
The “Golden State” has the most horrifying death row statistics out of the whole country. California out ranks all the other 49 states when it comes to the number of inmates on death row.
According to data released by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, there are currently 723 inmates on death row as of Jan. 1.
Though it has the highest amount of convicts in America awaiting execution, California only executes 1 percent of its prisoners.Since 1977, only 13 of the state’s death row inmates have been executed; 20 died of natural causes and 12 convicts have committed suicide.
The Death Penalty Information Center of America recently released data showing the true cost of capital punishment.
On average $90,000 of taxpayer money is spent per year to support each death row inmate. With 725 inmates currently awaiting execution, that’s $65 million spent annually on capital punishment.
Estimates show that the projected cost of a penal system that imposes a maximum of life in prison would be $11.5 million per year.
By abolishing the death penalty the state could save at least $53 million annually in tax revenue.With the money saved state legislators could find ways to reinvest that capital into communities in our state that really need it.
Gov. Jerry Brown also feels that the death penalty has become a thing of the past.
In April of 2011 Gov. Brown canceled construction of a $356 million death row at San Quentin prison. “At a time when children, the disabled and seniors face painful cuts to essential programs, the state of California cannot justify a massive expenditure of public dollars for the worst criminals,” Brown said.
The cancellation is set to save California’s general fund $28.5 million a year for 25 years.
The cities that spend the most on capital punishment all have high amounts of lower income minority groups; the top ten are Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, Ventura, San Bernardino, Tulare, Alameda, Contra Costa and Sacramento.
According to state records, a resident of Alameda County is nearly eight times more likely to be sentenced to death than a resident of nearby Santa Clara County. Are we not all Californians who live, work and exist in the same place? By initiating a state wide ban of the death penalty law makers would mitigate discrepancies amongst convictions in different counties.
We as hard-working taxpayers should not have to fund a penal system that executes the poor yet nurtures the rich.
We live in an economy where teachers and police officers are seeing their salaries shrink. It makes no financial sense to spend over $50 million on an execution system that doesn’t work.
In order to ensure a stable and progressive state budget, reforms to the California prison system need to be made.