A newly released report from the Death Penalty Information Center has concluded that states could save hundreds of millions of dollars by abolishing the death penalty and diverting the funds to more effective anti-violence programs.
Accompanying the report was a nationwide poll of police chiefs, conducted by RT Strategies, that found that most law enforcement officials do not believe the death penalty deters violent crime, and they see it as the least efficient use of taxpayer money.
"With many states spending millions to retain the death penalty, while seldom or never carrying out an execution, the death penalty is turning into a very expensive form of life without parole," says Richard C. Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center and the report’s author.
He adds that "at a time of budget shortfalls, the death penalty cannot be exempt from reevaluation alongside other wasteful government programs that no longer make sense."
The center also cites Police Chief James Abbott of West Orange, N.J., who says the state spent $250 million on death penalty-related expenses over 25 years "with nothing to show for it," and added that New Jersey’s murder rate has dropped since capital punishment was abolished.