Each Execution Has Cost California $308 Million Since 1978

A new study concludes the death penalty has cost the state a total of $4 billion

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Capital punishment is expensive! Since California reinstated the death penalty in 1978, it's executed 13 people and with a grand total of $4 billion in related spending, that works out to a cost of $308 million per person, reports the Los Angeles Times. The new findings come from a study by U.S. 9th Circuit Judge Arthur Alarcon and Loyola Law School professor Paula Mitchell. The goal of the study was to present options on how to curb state budget costs. "The authors outline three options for voters to end the current reality of spiraling costs and infrequent executions," reports Carol Williams, "fully preserve capital punishment with about $85 million more in funding for courts and lawyers each year; reduce the number of death penalty-eligible crimes for an annual savings of $55 million; or abolish capital punishment and save taxpayers about $1 billion every five or six years." The Times notes that a "death penalty prosecution costs up to 20 times as much as a life-without-parole case" with the least expensive death penalty trail costing $1.1 million more than the most expensive parole case for life-without-trial.

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