Archive for Thursday, February 5, 2009

Death penalty opponents introduce bill to abolish executions based on cost

February 5, 2009


— Death penalty opponents in Kansas have criticized capital punishment, saying it is unfair and pointing to instances around the country where innocent people were wrongly sentenced to death.

On Thursday, they took a different strategy as legislation was introduced to abolish the Kansas death penalty. They said that given the current budget problems, the death penalty was too expensive and unnecessary because Kansas law has an alternative — life in prison without parole.

“I know this session everyone is scrambling to find resources to fund things that the state needs, and now that we have life in prison without parole, the question is what does the death penalty get us that life without parole doesn’t,” said Donna Schneweis with Amnesty International and the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

State lawmakers are looking for ways to bridge a nearly $200 million budget shortfall.

There have been no executions in Kansas since the state re-established the death penalty in 1994. There are 10 men awaiting the death sentence in Kansas.

In a 2003 state audit report that looked at 22 first-degree murder cases, the median cost for cases in which the death penalty was imposed was $1.2 million, compared with $740,000 for the median non-death penalty cases reviewed. The calculations included the cost of long-term incarceration.

The report said numerous factors made death penalty cases cost more, such as lengthier court trials and appeals, and hiring more experts.

Senate Bill 208 would abolish the death penalty, but it would not apply to those already sentenced to death.

State Sen. Caroline McGinn, R-Sedgwick, introduced the bill, saying, “We need to be thinking outside the box,” when it comes to saving money.

McGinn said the death penalty hasn’t proven to be a deterrent to crime, and there is always the risk that an innocent person could be executed.

Since 1973, 130 persons sentenced to death in 26 states have been exonerated, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.


james bush 9 years, 2 months ago

Thank you Kansas Supreme Court for keeping the Carr brothers and similar vile creatures alive.

moderate1 9 years, 2 months ago

Wouldn't it be more expensive to house them in prison for the rest of their life?

moderate1 9 years, 2 months ago

Average cost per prisoner is around $33,000 to $70,000 depending on prison facilities offered, age, and health. That's about $660,000 to 1.4 million every twenty years.

guesswho 9 years, 2 months ago

Moderate - From what I understand (which may not be a lot) it is more expensive to have someone on 'death row' due to all of the appeals, types of trials, etc - something like 60-70% more expensive.

jonas_opines 9 years, 2 months ago

guesswho: My guess is the response to that will be "that's why we need to kill them quicker without all this process."essentially

rusty2 9 years, 2 months ago

how about the Ramona Morgan Foundation - i am sure that some people would donate to raise funds to 'send her to God'. running over highway workers - i mean really - why are we paying to incarcerate her?

Moderateguy 9 years, 2 months ago

Expensive? I saw 500 rounds of .22lr at Cabelas last week for under $20. That's only 4 cents per round. I'm not advocating it in every case, but some folks have committed truly heinous crimes in front of numerous eyewitnesses and have rap sheets longer than your arm. They need to be put down. At some point society needs to say "we're done with you; get out of the gene pool!"

moderate1 9 years, 2 months ago

anxiousathiest“we're done with you; get out of the gene pool”, I don't remember saying that?

moderate1 9 years, 2 months ago

How does what I posted above not make me moderate?? Do I have to agree you to be moderate? That would make me a liberal wouldn't it?

christie 9 years, 2 months ago

"What does the death penalty get us that life without parole doesn’t??"Certainty that they will not offend again.What's to keep this person from killing other inmates or prison guards or escaping and killing everything in sight. These people never answer that I'm a hardcore liberal

AjiDeGallina 9 years, 2 months ago

skinny (Anonymous) says…An eye for an eye!Hang’em!******wow, I am not against the death penalty, but I find that comment very ignorant for many reasons.1. The Bible continues to say "vengance is mine" Sayeth the you are bearing false witness, breaking a commandment if you are trying to say it is Biblical.2. The death penalty is supposed to be (though it is not) a deterrent for others and a last resort when rehabilitation is deemed not possible. It is very clearly NOT supposed to be based on vengance. You fail at American values if you want to change the very foundation of our legal system.3. Hanging has been found to be cruel and unusual punishment in this country based on Constitutional interpretation. As our soldiers fight and die in Iraq and Afghanistan for freedom and democracy, you defy our very own constitution? Traitor.

notajayhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Whether one is for or against the death penalty, attempting to get rid of it because of the cost is a bit ludicrous. If we're only going to do things that don't cost the state much, then what the heck, let's close the prisons altogether - and the jails, and the courts. Think of the savings! (Heck, for that matter, how much do we spend on Medicaid - and education - and...)******>>> "...the question is what does the death penalty get us that life without parole doesn’t"Years back, when Mario Cuomo was still governor in NY, and still vetoing the legislature's annual attempts to reinstate the death penalty, a female prison guard at Green Haven was raped an murdered by a prisoner. He was already serving life without parole for multiple homicides, so that one was a freebie.

Frank Smith 9 years, 2 months ago

There's a man who lives in Rose Hill, near Wichita, who did 21 years for the poison murder of his seven children. He was on death row until the Supreme Court decided Furman v. Georgia, which invalidated the death penalty. He was finally released in 1991 after it was found that the most likely suspect, the baby sitter originally overlooked by police and who had fed them the fatal meal, had killed one husband, possibly two, by poison.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

"Toby Keith's take on justice…which I agree with."That's a great idea. And we could save a whole lot of money if we just do away with the court system. Police should just shoot anyone that "deserves it" on the spot. The rest could just be put on a chain gang doing gubmint work, which would allow us to fire all other gubmint workers.Life is a lot simpler if you're stupid.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

And you're just the guy to martyr them, right invictus?

jonas_opines 9 years, 2 months ago

Seriously Clint, you're like a model for Pavlovian conditioning. Talk point = response. Do try and occasionally actually pay attention, before you embarrass yourself again. /you did, by the way, embarrass yourself, whether you know it or not

storm 9 years, 2 months ago

I think we'd save more money and potential grief if they were executed. Just simply, a society's safety (even in prison) is more important than keeping one murderer alive. If it deters others from murdering, that's just a benefit. That said, our justice system needs to be repaired and the punishment by death should always remain.

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