Death Penalty Costs? 10 points best answer?

Im writing a essay about the death penalty for my debate class and I wanted to know in actual numbers how much more does it cost to put someone on death row then to have them spend life in prison? and any other number figures that would help my essay would be great~! Thanks

this is my essay in case anyone was wondering


the paper was to abolish the death penalty in the US as a whole, i live in florida btw :)

3 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The death penalty costs much more than life in prison. Study after study has found that the death penalty is much more expensive than life in prison. Since the stakes are so high, the process is far more complex than for any other kind of criminal case. The largest costs come at the pre-trial and trial stages. The tremendous expenses in a death penalty case apply whether or not the defendant is convicted, let alone sentenced to death. The tremendous expenses in a death penalty case apply whether or not the defendant is convicted, let alone sentenced to death.

    Examples- trial costs (death penalty and non death penalty cases, California):

    People v. Scott Peterson, Death Penalty Trial

    $3.2 Million Total

    People v. Rex Allen Krebs Death Penalty Trial

    $2.8 Million Total

    People v. Cary Stayner, Death Penalty Trial

    $2.368 Million Total

    People v. Robert Wigley, Non-Death Penalty Trial

    $454,000 Total

    This data is for cases where the best records have been kept.

    Some factors:

    • more pre-trial time will be needed to prepare: cases typically take a year to come to trial

    • more pre-trial motions filed and answered

    • more experts will be hired

    • twice as many attorneys will be appointed for the defense, and a comparable team for the prosecution

    • jurors must be individually quizzed on their views about the death penalty, and they are more likely to be sequestered

    • two trials instead of one will be conducted: one for guilt and one for punishment

    • the trial will be longer: a cost study at Duke University estimated that death penalty trials take 3 to 5 times longer than typical murder trials

    The numbers vary from state to state, but they all point in the same direction. From a fairly typical state study of the costs of the death penalty:

    “The study counted death penalty case costs through to execution and found that the median death penalty case costs $1.26 million. Non-death penalty cases were counted through to the end of incarceration and were found to have a median cost of $740,000. For death penalty cases, the pre-trial and trial level expenses were the most expensive part, 49% of the total cost. The investigation costs for death-sentence cases were about 3 times greater than for non-death cases. The trial costs for death cases were about 16 times greater than for non-death cases ($508,000 for death case; $32,000 for non-death case).” (Kansas: Performance Audit Report: Costs Incurred for Death Penalty Cases: A K-GOAL Audit of the Department of Corrections)

  • 9 years ago

    I don't know what state you live in but here's something that should help: According to the state of Florida, they've had 44 executions since 1976. For each execution that was completed, it costs them around $24 million dollars each!

    Here's something else you can put in your paper: What if you executed an innocent person? The family definitely has the right to sure the State Government for thousand, and more commonly, Millions! That can go towards the figures also. And let's say this person lived in Florida, and the family sued & won... Not only would the state have paid the $24 million for the execution, but now they have to lash out another couple million or so to settle down the family.

    Hope that helps & good luck with your paper!

    Source(s): Cha Cha
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I am English,but you should not put a cost on these things.If there is even a tiny chance the thought of being executed would get a potential murder/ess to think twice,it must be worth any cost.

    Do please bear in mind that for every criminal executed there is at least one poor victim,often many more who have often died in awful circumstances,when its children who are murdered it makes the crime much worse. I always think of the victim.

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