Several days ago, weeks in fact, I wrote a brief message to brothers and sisters on Death Row in Pennsylvania.
I told them, among other things, that the death penalty was dying, due in large part, to its crippling cost.
Just a few days ago, the General Assembly of Connecticut passed a bill repealing its death penalty statutes, calling instead for life imprisonment without parole (LWOP).
The serious fiscal problems facing states are forcing them to count dollars and cents, and under that math, it simply doesn’t add up.
Given appeals, and the demanding complexity of capital case briefs, states must decide substance over symbols. Must they spend upwards to a million (or more) dollars seeking death, or a few hundred thousand in life prison terms?
The 2008 financial debacle that almost crippled the nation’s economy did far more than hurt a host of mortgage owners. Many states unwisely invested in these mortgage-based securities (but the latest bubble!), and they, too, took a bath in red ink when the market went south.
States lost tens of millions in bad investments, and their budgets took a beating. They’ve got to cut–and cut big.
And the multi-million dollar death row units are beginning to look like lamb to a lion.
New Jersey did it several years ago. Maryland came close. Now Connecticut has cut its ties to death row.
For other states it’s only a matter of time–and money!