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June 9, 2010

Notable new testimony from DPIC on the economic costs of the death penalty

A helpful reader pointed me to this new written testimony from the Death Penalty Information Center's executive director, Richard Dieter, concerning the death penalty's economic costs.  Here is how DPIC's website explains the background and basics of this document:

On Monday, June 7, the Pennsylvania State Government Management and Cost Study Commission will hear from experts on proposals to cut the costs of various government programs.  The Commission, established in 2009, is comprised of private and public sector cost-minded leaders in Pennsylvania and has been charged with studying the management of government operations and making recommendations for cost-cutting measures.

Among the experts who will testify at the hearing is Richard Dieter, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center, who will provide information on the high costs of the death penalty.  His testimony states: "[T]he death penalty is not an essential government function and, in fact, is probably one of the least effective and most costly programs, when measured in terms of the people it affects.  What Pennsylvania calls the death penalty is in reality a very expensive form of life without parole.  Despite having the fourth largest death row in the country, Pennsylvania has not had an execution in 11 years" and no "contested execution since 1962."

Some recent related posts on the costs of capital punsihment:

June 9, 2010 at 11:25 AM | Permalink


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Dieter is an advocate for one side of the death penalty debate. He should identify himself as such when he testifies. This faux neutral posture is fundamentally dishonest.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Jun 9, 2010 11:59:23 AM

...and it begs the question in any event, since the issue is not whether the DP has costs (obviously it does), but whether it is WORTH those costs.

A second question would be whether the costs can be reduced by requiring more expeditious resolution of DP cases. You can expect high costs when you allow unlimited years of litigation. When cases are disposed of with relative speed, as they are in Virginia, costs go way down.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 9, 2010 7:28:02 PM

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