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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 and November 2010, but as this pay period included yet another day that many state workers went without pay while the government wasted 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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3 Responses

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  1. Laura King says

    I cannot believe that anyone still believes that the death penalty works. It costs so much more to keep a prisoner on death row with all the endless appeals etc than it would to keep them in prison. Surely the extra money used could be routed to more worthy causes such as educating our kids, helping people get jobs not to mention providing basic medical care for everyone. Wonder if Gov Beshear took a paycut? Guess not. Why should he as he is doing such a wonderful job – executing prisoners who could be innocent at a huge financial cost while making people who earn less than $30k and are presumably trying to support their family honestly take an unpaid day off. Who keeps this mastermind in office?

  2. Adam Callaghan says

    Totally agree with you Laura. It does make you wonder who is voting doesn’t it!

  3. Jessica Dean says

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

    Thats just disgusting – hope he learns a lesson next time his people vote with their feet!
    The death penalty is wrong for so many reasons not least of which is the fact that it turns us into murderers when we kill innocent people. But then I guess that is why they give Governers immunity!!



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