Yesterday Rob Sanders, the Kenton County commonwealth attorney, demonstrated that he doesn’t have a good understanding of the facts about Kentucky’s unnecessary and costly death penalty:
The death penalty, of course does not deter crime or lower crime rates. But don’t just take our word for it.
- The 2006 FBI Uniform Crime Report: The South has the highest murder rate yet it accounts for more than 80 percent of the executions in the country.
- The Economist: “There is little evidence that the death penalty deters. In fact, some of the states that most avidly execute prisoners, such as Texas and Oklahoma, have higher crime rates than states that offer only life in prison without parole.”
And when another Twitter user responded to Sanders about the excessive costs of executions, the Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney continued to show his ignorance about the death penalty:
How about study after study after study has proven that life without parole is cheaper than the death penalty? Take these examples, Rob Sanders–
- CNN: “Death penalty costs can average $10 million more per year per state than life sentences.”
- The Economist: “Administering the death penalty is even more expensive than keeping someone in prison for life.”
- The New York Times: “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…Keeping inmates on death row in Florida costs taxpayers $51 million a year more than holding them for life without parole.”
And money spent on the death penalty is money not allocated to police for crime prevention–in a poll of 500 police chiefs, the death penalty ranked last among their priorities for reducing violent crime–or to provide essential services to victims and their families.
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, “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.” And former Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Lambert doesn’t think that it’s possible to cut the costs of administering the death penalty: “It’s impossible to streamline death-penalty litigation to justify the cost, because doing so would dramatically increase the risk of wrongful executions.”
About all the death penalty is good for is for politicians like Rob Sanders to talk about in a misguided attempt to sound tough on crime during election season. Hollering for the death penalty doesn’t make you sound tough on crime though Rob Sanders; it makes you sound weak on facts.