Capital murder trials and death row boondoggles are wreaking havoc on budgets across the U.S. as many states are rethinking the death penalty, which is enormously costly and rarely imposed even after successful prosecutions, reports Fox News. Every time a killer is sentenced to die, a school closes: that is the assessment of a growing number of studies taking a cold, hard look at how much the death penalty costs in the 35 states that still have it.
“There have been studies of costs of the death penalty before, but we have never seen the same reaction that we are seeing now,” says Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center. “Perhaps it is because governments are looking for ways to cut costs, and this is easier than school closings or layoffs, but it sure has hit a nerve.” In the last year, four states – Kansas, Colorado, Montana, and Connecticut – have wrestled with the emotional and politically charged issue. In each state there was a major shift toward rejection of the death penalty and narrow defeats for legislation that would have abolished it. In Connecticut, both houses voted to ban executions, but the governor vetoed it.