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Gov. Beshear ignores an obvious solution–abolish the death penalty–to reducing Ky.’s soaring prison costs

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is missing an obvious way for Kentucky to reduce its prison costs--abolish the death penalty.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is missing an obvious way for Kentucky to reduce its prison costs--abolish the death penalty.

From the Lexington Herald-Leader’s “Group studying rising prison costs in Ky.“:

Kentucky is hiring a nonprofit organization to explore ways to reduce rising prison costs and inmate population.Gov. Steve Beshear said the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Center on the States will be paid $200,000 to analyze data and determine how to reduce corrections spending. Beshear says the group seeks to recommend cuts that maintain public safety.

We’ll give Gov. Beshear some advice that won’t cost any of your tax dollars: Kentucky can reduce its soaring prison costs by abolishing the death penalty.

  • “The Death Penalty Information Center study found that death penalty costs can average $10 million more per year per state than life sentences. Increased costs include higher security needs and guaranteed access to an often lengthy pardon and appellate process.” [CNN]
  • “The state Department of Public Advocacy estimates that Kentucky spends as much as $8 million a year prosecuting, defending and incarcerating death-row inmates, even as state-ordered budget cuts impair other aspects of the judicial branch of government.” [Louisville Courier-Journal]
  • “States waste millions of dollars on winning death penalty verdicts, which require an expensive second trial, new witnesses and long jury selections. Death rows require extra security and maintenance costs.There is also a 15-to-20-year appeals process, but simply getting rid of it would be undemocratic and would increase the number of innocent people put to death. Besides, the majority of costs are in the pretrial and trial. According to the organization, keeping inmates on death row in Florida costs taxpayers $51 million a year more than holding them for life without parole. North Carolina has put 43 people to death since 1976 at $2.16 million per execution. The eventual cost to taxpayers in Maryland for pursuing capital cases between 1978 and 1999 is estimated to be $186 million for five executions.” [The New York Times]
  • “Kentucky is spending millions of dollars each year on a capital-punishment system so ineffective that more death-row inmates are dying of natural causes than are being executed.” [Louisville Courier-Journal]

No need to spend $200,000 in a time of government layoffs and furloughs for that info, Gov. Beshear. It’s been sitting on KCADP’s website for months, where you can read it for free.

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One Response

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  1. Mark M. says

    Here, here! Some think it crass to frame the Death Penalty debate in terms of dollars; however, when money is wasted on a needless, unfair and flawed system instead of serving as an investment in education, we see how human and person-centered this calculation really is.



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