A recent article in Parade magazine looked at the cost of the death penalty, especially in light of the budgetary crises confronting most states in today's economy. New Mexico and New Jersey recently abolished the death penalty, and costs played a significant role in their decisions. New Mexico State Rep. Gail Chasey (D., Albuquerque) noted, “We can put that money toward enhancing law enforcement, public works, you name it." In New Jersey a commission found that using the alternative sentence of life without parole would save the state $1.3 million per inmate in incarceration costs alone because a death row facility requires more personnel to operate. Finally, a recent study in North Carolina found that the state could save at least $11 million a year by repealing the death penalty.
In 2009, 52 prisoners (out of the total 3,279 on death row across the country) were executed. “People tend to think, ‘Oh, you get the death penalty, then there’s an execution,’” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C. “But more often than not, the death penalty turns out to be a very expensive form of life imprisonment." Read full text below.