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January 4, 2005

The economic costs of capital punishment

One interesting trend I am noticing in the modern public and political conversation about the death penalty is an attentiveness to the extraordinary economic costs of administering a system of capital punishment. 

For example, recent newspaper articles coming from California and Oklahoma have detailed the considerable state expenditures on the capital trials of Scott Peterson and Terry Nichols.  Moreover, as Kansas and New York are contemplating fixing their death penalty procedures after their current capital systems were declared unconstitutional, we are seeing editorials (noted here; see also here) and other commentary (noted here) expressing serious concerns about the high costs of administering the death penalty.

As I have said before, I think the purely economic costs of the death penalty is an issue that has been under-examined even in the voluminous academic literature about capital punishment.  (The Death Penalty Information Center, however, has collected terrific capital cost data here.)  Perhaps some smart folks with economics training and interest might start giving these sorts of matters serious attention.

January 4, 2005 at 02:19 PM | Permalink


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I am a student conducting research on the issue of capital punishment and am amazed at the actual costs incurred in carrying out the sentence of death. I am certainly hoping there will be more attention given to this aspect of what I consider to be an inhumane and ineffective way of dealing with criminals. Do you have any suggestions for students who want to become more active in the process of eliminating the use of capital punishment in our state?

Posted by: Jill | Apr 17, 2005 10:46:33 AM

I am a student conducting research on the issue of capital punishment and the actual cost incurred carrying out of death.

Posted by: mannelyn felizarte | Sep 1, 2005 3:41:25 AM

I am a student and I am writing a term paper on the economics of capital punishment.

Posted by: Lexi | Mar 7, 2006 12:56:39 PM

I am a student and my partner and I are doing debate research on why capital punishment should be outlawed.

Posted by: hillary ann | May 5, 2006 3:40:10 PM

im a student and my class is having a debate about the death penelty. i didnt relize the cost for it was so high.

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Posted by: | Oct 14, 2008 6:46:32 AM

The good thing about your information is that it is explicit enough for students to grasp. Thanks for your efforts in spreading academic knowledge.

Posted by: term paper writing | Aug 7, 2009 5:18:57 AM

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