The fight against the death penalty is gaining momentum, opponents of the practice say, with Connecticut’s decision this month to abolish capital punishment making it the fifth state in five years to so do, reports the Los Angeles Times. Connecticut will be the 17th state to do away with capital punishment and the seventh state to stop the death penalty since it was reinstated as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976.
Opponents of capital punishmentl cite moral and religious arguments, but another force behind the recent trend is cost. California spends an additional $184 million per year total on its more than 700 death row prisoners than if they had been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, said a study by Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. An Urban Institute study in 2008 found that a single death sentence in Maryland costs almost $2 million more per case than a comparable non-death-penalty case. In California, an initiative on November’s ballot will allow voters to decide whether to repeal capital punishment. Oregon issued a moratorium on executions in 2011 and is conducting a study of alternatives to the death penalty. Pennsylvania also started a study of how the death penalty has been applied there.