The Death Penalty in California
As of July 1st of 2016, there are approximately 741 out of 2,095 death row inmates in the state of California alone. California holds the most death row inmates out of all the states for no known reason. In California, the issue of whether to keep the death row penalty or abolish it has been hard to keep up. There are several disputes concerning the morality, the cost, constitutionality, race, etc even though California does fully support capital punishment.
In the last several years, California has taken out budgets from K-12 schools to help pay for inmates on death row. The average cost that a taxpayer must pay in order to keep a prisoner alive in jail is around $31,286 per inmate. “A new study in California revealed that the cost of the death penalty in the state has been over $4 billion since 1978. Study considered pre- trial and trial costs, costs of automatic appeals and state habeas corpus petitions, costs of federal habeas corpus appeals, and costs of incarceration on death row. (Alarcon & Mitchell, 2011).” Not only does the death row effect students in elementary through high schools but it also affects colleges and universities. The cost of enrolling in a four-year college is increasing and the class availability for college students is declining quickly. Every school in California has cut or is considering to cut the jobs of the educators and even the potential students. “In January of 2011, Governor Jerry Brown of California proposed his budget cuts and state universities would be taking another cut of $1 billion, leaving alone elementary and secondary schools (Christie, 2011).” The democracy in the United States government is planning to cut fractions off of any healthcare or insurance an inmate could have during their sentence. That means that the pregnancies of inmates will not get the right attention as a normal civilian would nor the same amount of rights of becoming a mom. Even without having to pay for the death penalty, taxpayers will have to pay the “cost-of-a-life” for each inmate which although it is less money, it would still add up to be a lot because you are paying for their food, shelter, insurance, and any hospital bills that they would have required during their sentence. Richard C. Dieter, MS, JD, Former Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center, states, ”Jury selection, the trial itself, and initial appeals will consume years of time and enormous amounts of money before an execution is on the horizon…” While many believe that the death penalty saves taxpayers money of no longer having to care to a prisoner, the other side believes that the money that it takes to execute an inmate whether it be lethal injection, hanging, gas chamber, firing squad, or electrocution is increasingly more expensive.
Other than cost being the most disputed argument of the death row, the morality of it is also protested from both sides. People who believe that the murderous inmate should be executed feel that it is more moral to do so rather than keeping them alive and well. These civilians believe in this morally because it is not fair to the victim of the crime to be fearful of this inmate. To know that the person who had physically or mentally attacked you will certainly never do it again is believed to add closure to the victims and create a more safe environment for everyone essentially. If a man or woman had been raped, they psychologically will never return to who they are knowing that the person who had committed the crime is still well off in a jail getting “pampered” by taxpayers lawful money. Except for the fact that the victim needs closure, the other party believes that it is immoral to take a life that still has potential. “…capital punishment is a failed policy. America should no longer accept the myth that capital punishment plays any constructive role in our criminal justice system. It will be hard to bring an end to the death penalty, but we will be a healthier society as a result.”