With so many states facing deficits, legislation on the death penalty has started to address the cost of the policy, ABC News reports. California has a $25 billion deficit and almost 700 inmates on death row. The California Commission for the Fair Administration of Justice says maintaining the criminal justice system costs $137 million per year, but the cost would drop to $11.5 million if it weren’t for the death penalty.
The American Civil Liberties Union contends that California would be forced to spend $1 billion on the death penalty in the next five years if the state does not replace capital punishment with permanent imprisonment. In New Hampshire last week, a commission recommended to the legislature that the state not expand its death penalty, citing its higher costs as one of the reasons. The same week a bill to abolish the death penalty in Illinois cleared the state’s House Judiciary Committee.