Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Cost of Capital Punishment

It is not uncommon to hear claims that when it come to capital punishment, money should not matter. Today's op ed in the Star Press is typical.


The editorial laments the fact that the prosecutor is not seeking a death sentence in a local case due, in part, to the prohibitive costs. The piece does point out the disparity between urban and rural sentencing practices. Perhaps someone will one day litigate this point in terms of a proportionality argument. Too bad the U.S. Supreme Court no longer cares about the issue of proportionality.

We ration food, medical care, housing education, and a host of other items that are ingredients in a good quality of life. It is an economic reality that justice, regardless of how it is defined, also has financial limits. Money spend on capital punishment is money that could have been invested in proven crime control policies. No other public policy fails as often as capital punishment, yet there is no accountability for how elected officials spend our money and invest other resources in this area. Time to demand accountability.

No comments: