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Is It Cheaper to Keep Inmates on Death Row or Execute - Research Paper Example

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Institution: Instructor: Death row life imprisonment vs. Execution The argument whether it is cheaper to keep inmates on death row in jail for life or execute them has been the cause of debate among a number of people, scholars, jurists, economists and state officials…
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Is It Cheaper to Keep Inmates on Death Row or Execute
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"Is It Cheaper to Keep Inmates on Death Row or Execute"

Download file to see previous pages This essay will be outlining the varying opinions and suggestions for the arguments. One reason why it is cheaper to keep inmates on death row for life imprisonment than to execute them is because of the number of appeals that take place by the yet to be executed inmates. During the appeals, the tax payers bear the cost of hiring lawyers, which, when calculated, comes up to millions of dollars. In comparison, in case a person is imprisoned for life, the costs of maintaining the convicts can only run from 15-25 thousand dollars annually, which is approximated to be about one million after a period of 40 years. The costs of retaining a lawyer is more severe when the crime committed is a capital case, hence it will consume an amount of legal and maintenance fees. This is because the cases can take 20 years or more before any verdict is reached, which accumulates and adds up to the sum of maintenance which is hard with the worsening economic conditions (Trevor, 136). Another key reason why capital punishment like execution is being discussed and discouraged is the risk of convicting an innocent person. Majority of the convicts have been found to be innocent after DNA tests have been carried out. The costs of carrying out appeals are expensive as majority of the lawyers who handle such cases are well recognized and experienced, and they would require large sums of money to be hired. In some places in Texas, United States, it is difficult to find lawyers who will take up other cases as they view some of the cases as non- lucrative. This is despite the fact that statistics show that if one hires a good lawyer the chances of being sentenced to death are considerably less (Mutual, 165). Other costs that accrue from executions include costs resulting from a number of DNA tests, costs of relocating inmates into specialized segregated rooms as well as costs of hiring and training specialized guards to look after the inmates. Statistics in Europe have shown that the number of death sentences in the continent have gone down by 7% in 1999 to 15% in 2008, the reason being that a second chance can be achieved during life imprisonment. In addition to the complex appeals, procedures and tasks, a person who is well convicted has another chance or possibility of repeatedly applying for pardons which then adds up to the excessive appeals procedures. It has also shown that prosecutors in Dallas County have stopped asking for death penalties, instead they are requesting life in prison with the possibility of being pardoned after a period of 40 years. It is estimated that a return to execution rate of six per year would cost approximately 90 million dollars annually (Michael & Borg, 62). However, other people have a different view, arguing that death penalty is the only sure and open way to clearly indicate that justice has been done. They state that even though the case may take longer and large costs might be encountered, eventually justice will be accomplished. In support of this, a pro-capital punishment group led by Kent Scheidegger argues that if an effective appeal is brought, the whole process then must cost less and eventually justice can be obtained in the shortest time possible. The only way was to revamp the appeal process to take place more quickly so that the inmates need not spend more of their years before execution can take place (Hans, Klas & Villian, 56). According to California crime statistics, its appeal system produces a wait of about 20 ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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