U.S. 9th Circuit Judge Arthur L. Alarcon and Loyola Law School professor Paula M. Mitchell authored a report, "Executing the Will of the Voters: A Roadmap to Mend or End the California The Legislature's Multi-Billion-Dollar Death Penalty Debacle." The examination of expenditures for capital cases, conducted over three years estimated that the additional costs of capital trials, enhanced security on death row and legal representation for the condemned adds $184 million to the budget each year, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Taxpayers have spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment in California since it was reinstated in 1978, or about $308 million for each of the 13 executions carried out since then, according to a comprehensive analysis of the death penalty's costs. The death penalty will climb to $9 billion by 2030, when San Quentin's death row will have swollen to well over 1,000, reported the Times.
The authors outline three options for voters to end the current reality of spiraling costs and infrequent executions: fully preserve capital punishment with about $85 million more in funding for courts and lawyers each year; reduce the number of death penalty-eligible crimes for an annual savings of $55 million; or abolish capital punishment and save taxpayers about $1 billion every five or six years.
According to the Times, unless profound reforms are made by lawmakers who have failed to adopt previous recommendations for rescuing the system, Alarcon and Mitchell say, capital punishment will continue to exist mostly in theory while exacting an untenable cost.
To read more: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-adv-death-penalty-costs-20110620,0,3505671.story