Archive for Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Death penalty cost

January 13, 2004


To the editor:

On Dec. 19, the Legislative Division of Post Audit released their study on the cost of the Kansas death penalty. Their study reinforced the findings of studies in other states: The death penalty is far more costly than nondeath sentences.

Death penalty proponents often claim that the death penalty is cheaper than life in prison, but this recent statewide study again disproves this argument. The study noted the median death penalty case cost could be up to 70 percent more than a nondeath case, even when including the cost of decades in prison.

Far too often we hear about schools without money for books. Far too often we hear about tuition increases to make up for state budget shortfalls. Far too often we hear that there is not enough money for state social services such as support for the disabled. While eliminating the death penalty would not immediately solve all of these financial problems, it has the potential to help. In a state desperately searching to cut every corner, to save every penny, ending the death penalty is one step the state can take that could save us a few dollars.

Cost, geographic disparity and other problems too numerous to mention all make this state policy unwise. We do not need to simply change the death penalty in Kansas to make it more cost efficient, we need to eliminate it.

Travis Weller,


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