Death penalty dying? -

Death penalty dying?

Wrongful convictions and high costs slow the pace in the U.S.


According to a report from the Death Penalty Information Center, American death sentences fell to 106 in 2009, their seventh straight year of decline and the lowest total since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. ACLU leaders attributed the decline to public concerns about wrongful convictions and the high costs of capital punishment. The group’s branch in California—which has the largest Death Row of any state, with 701 prisoners, more than one-fifth of the nation’s total—cited a state commission’s 2008 report that said capital punishment was costing California $137 million a year. It would cost another $95 million a year to cut appeals times to the national average, the panel said. “All California communities would be better served if California opted for permanent imprisonment as a safe and cost-effective alternative to the death penalty,” said Ramona Ripston, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California. The ACLU report, based on state records, pointed to another long-term trend, an increase in the number of African Americans and Latinos on Death Row. They accounted for more than 65 per cent of the death sentences in 2009 and make up more than 58 percent of the condemned prisoners in the state, compared with 44 percent of the general population, the report said.

San Francisco Chronicle

Filed under:

Death penalty dying?

  1. it's interesting how everything is about money now that places like california are more or less broke …the lower level criminals will be let out on the streets ..if the death penalty costs more than a million dollars per person it needs a rethink ..they also need to rethink how prison can cost 60-80k ..they should cut costs and also make people work all day long..the prisoners would be happy for something to do… you can get a real insight of what goes on in various jails by watching msnbc's "lockup" show

  2. The death penalty has no place in a civilized society. It is barbaric and is based on revenge .
    There are several documented cases where DNA testing showed that innocent people were put to death by the government. We have an imperfect justice system where poor defendants are given minimal legal attention by often lesser qualified individuals.

    • the justice system is also imperfect in that due to the "reasonable doubt" principle people who are more than likely guilty are set free …. also the justice system is weak in that the punishments are too leniant

  3. Canada has had it's share of wrongful convictions and thankfully, we don't kill prisoners. The Marshall, Milgaard and Morin cases are enough to tell us to never reinstate the death penalty. The U.S. won't stop it because it wasn't their idea!

  4. If they think the death penalty is costing them money, how much do they think life time incarceration is going to cost? Maybe the problem isn't with the death penalty, but the useless system that allows millions to be spent on unnecessary legals fees. I love it how people all riled up about health care (how dare they have to pay for health care for their underprivileged fellow-citizens!) and yet don't bat an eye at paying millions for the upkeep and legal fees of convicted killers.