Does Death Penalty cost less than life prison without parole?

Research for my AP English class. Looking at some sites as well, but they don't seem to be answering the question. You tell me if you want or perhaps search for a website too, that has been recently written or updated is preferred. Thanks.

6 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Best Answer

    No. Study after study has found that the death penalty is much more expensive than life in prison. The process is much more complex than for any other kind of criminal case. The largest costs come at the pre-trial and trial stages. These 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)

    Source(s): For links to cost studies from many states, take a look at
  • 4 years ago


    Source(s): Criminal Record Search Database :
  • 7 years ago

    NO! It does not! Unfortunately, the State has to pay the bill for all the appeals that the person is entitled to before they are executed. This is normally between three and ten appeals. The State has to provide the convict with an attorney, pay the judge, pay the prosecutor who fights the appeal, etc. It's not cheaper.

    All that aside, I am pro-death penalty.

  • That's interresting, I would think the opposite. Officially the y say it costs $100,000/y to keep an inmate. so if you multiply that by say...50 (just a guess as to how long the person will spend in prison, there's $5,000,000. Lawsuits and such really cost more than that? I'm astonished and not fully convinced.

    Source(s): Ex prison guard.
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  • ruthy
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    pondering the fee of "bullets" those days - (states w/electric chairs might save plenty) i might think of that housing/feeding/protecting a individual for over 35 or greater years on the quoted value of $30,000 according to loss of existence roll inmate according to year might bankrupt maximum states - yet they insist it expenses thousands and thousands to kill the B--tards.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    if everything goes as plan, no, but it actually cost more to kill him. Most of it is due to lawsuits.

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