A new capital punishment cost analysis says Utah pays $1.6 million per inmate, from trial to execution, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, asked for the analysis, the first study to examine what the capital punishment option costs the state and local governments. Handy has not proposed legislation on the issue and said Wednesday he is “under no illusion that people in Utah want to change the present law.” But Handy said the comparative costs of life without parole and the death penalty should be understood.
It is a topic of discussion in other states as well. New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois and Connecticut all did away with the death penalty option in recent years. A year ago, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber put a moratorium on executions and ordered a review of that state's capital punishment law. On Nov. 6, voters in California, where more than 700 inmates sit on death row, rejected a proposition that would have repealed the state's death penalty; proponents argued for doing away with the option based on its costs.