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Attention furloughed Ky. state employees: Gov. Beshear—again—values broken death penalty system over your work

KCADP ran this post back in September, but as today is another day that state workers are going without pay while the government wastes taxpayer’s money on an ineffective death penalty, it’s worth mentioning again.

Rather than furloughing 36,000 state employees, Gov. Steve Beshear could have saved Kentucky money by abolishing its broken death penalty system.

Gov. Steve Beshear could have saved Kentucky money by abolishing its broken death penalty system, thereby having to furlough fewer than the 36,000 state employees who he gave a mandatory unpaid day off today.

At the order of Gov. Steve Beshear, 36,000 state employees in Kentucky are on unpaid leave today, the first second of six furlough days the governor has mandated because of the state’s dire financial situation. According to the Public News Service, “The six-day furlough plan is expected to save $24 million over the course of the fiscal year.” The furloughs are equivalent to a 2.3 percent pay cut for state employees, many of whom make less than $30,000.

CNN reports that “death penalty costs can average $10 million more per year per state than life sentences” and Kentucky spends as much as $8 million annually prosecuting, defending and incarcerating death-row inmates. This despite

  • a poll of 500 police chiefs “found the death penalty ranked last among their priorities for reducing violent crime”
  • capital punishment does not deter murder (the 2006 FBI Uniform Crime Report shows the South with the highest murder rate and that it accounts for more than 80 percent of the executions in the country)
  • since 1962 Kentucky has executed just three people, two of whom dropped their appeals and asked to be killed
  • 67 percent of Kentuckians prefer an alternative to execution for those convicted of aggravated murder

Gov. Beshear’s decision makes it clear: he values Kentucky’s broken death penalty system over the hard work of those furloughed state employees.

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