Capital punishment has been used in the United States for vicious criminals since its inception. It helps in restituting, retribution and incapacitating for crimes like murder, treason and other serious crimes (Kasten 2). Today, the state governments have the responsibility to decide on capital punishment.
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There are thirty-eight states in the United States that have allowed capital punishment but only seventeen have implemented the punishment on more than two criminals over the twenty years that the law has been in practice (Gerber 437). Therefore, the effectiveness of capital punishment to the economy should be understood before it is allowed to continue. Cases of capital punishment are taken through different court processes compared to those of life imprisonment and other cases (Kasten 2). The society is advised to use capital punishment when its marginal benefits are better than its marginal costs. Capital punishment should be abolished because its marginal costs are higher than its marginal benefits. When carrying out capital punishment, there are a lot of costs that may be incurred hence making it unrealistic economically. Capital punishment cases have a particular process that starts from police investigations on the particular crime, which is the subject of capital punishment until the burial costs (Gerber 437). All the costs are on the state authorities from where the capital punishment is carried out.
The economic efficiency of capital punishment will be attained when all the burdens experienced in the process of the capital case are outlines. There are many costs linked to capital punishment that should be analyzed while practicing it. The police investigation costs would be the first level of capital punishment where costs will be incurred (Bohm 574). The cases are precise and should be carried out deeply hence the need for proper spending. The focus of the case would be determined by the depth of police investigations. For instance, most police investigations cost $50 ever hour and would last for twenty hours hence the overall cost would be $10,000. The other costs that may be incurred during capital punishment processes are trial and sentencing costs. All the processes of the court would in one way or the other require different kinds of costs; “these fees include costs associated with all pre-trial research by lawyers and staff for the prosecution and defense, depositions, motions, jury selection, court reporters, and other required court procedures” (Kasten 11). The capital murder cases may take five times longer than normal cases because the jury has been selected carefully with the attorneys from both sides of the case also fighting to win the case on their sides. The additional time automatically converts to more costs that extend outside the courtroom costs (Becker 49). The increased costs have been estimated at approximately $120, 433.
The appellate costs are the other forms of costs that may be experienced while handling murder cases or any cases that are subject to capital punishment. After the trials of the case have been completed, there would be a series appeals presented to the Supreme Court or any other relevant courts (Gerber 437). In cases where a defendant may have been a subject to death sentence, the Supreme Court will consider all the facts in the case hence more costs would be incurred. The appeal cases would require more time in order for the resolution made to be the most accurate “one, Attorneys spend, on average, between 800 and 1,000 hours on this single appeals process” (Kasten 14) The average amounts that any attorney would take for both sides of the case would be $245, 720 while the defense might require $90, 712 in New York for instance. These costs make capital punishment unrealistic. The execution costs are the other expenditures spent while handling a capital case. After the conclusion of the appeal cases, the state is required to execute the victims. There are many execution related costs that the state will incur while executing. The creation of the death chamber would be the first action to take while preparing to execute a murderer for instance (Becker 52). The costs of preparing the death chamber may be standard but there are other costs that would be incurred during execution. Also, $17, 288 will be spent in a period of twenty-four hours while the victim is place in a chamber next to the death chamber where he or she will be monitored. The cost in monitoring the convict is ironical in the sense that it is means to ensure that the victim does not commit suicide.
There is a $25 meal that the convict will be provided with shortly before the execution (Bohm 578). Also, the executioner will also be paid an approximate of $188 depending on the state from which the execution occurs. Finally, an undertaker will be paid to bury the body adding to the costs incurred during execution. While in the correctional facilities, the murder suspects who may be subject for execution are involved in different activities that would in turn be helpful to the government economically. Upon their execution, there is loss of manpower incurred. It is also likely that the jurors would remain idle after the execution. Most cases involving capital offenses require the jurors to spend a lot of time listening to the case (Steiker, and Steiker 117). When the victims are executed, the jurors would remain idle yet the state would continue paying the jurors. When left in the correctional facilities, it is likely that the murder convicts will remain helpful to the society by engaging in different voluntary activities across the society. The other grave cost of capital punishment is false positives. Through the appeals witnessed in the Supreme Court after a court case has been finalized, it might be possible that some of the people convicted would be innocent of the murder charges against them (Becker 54). The appeals are therefore, meant to prevent innocent people from being subjected to capital punishment, “the series of appeals that has been incorporated into the capital trial process is designed to ensure “super due process” for the alleged criminal” (Kasten 16). Between the years 1900 to 1987, nearly 350 people were sentenced to death under questionable circumstances. It is very sad that capital punishment would cost people their lives while serving life imprisonment would help in giving the suspects chances to prove their innocence from such cases. With modern studies, it is possible to understand the mind of a criminal to an extent where the reasons for engaging into the crime would be understood.
Allowing the murder suspects to live would be a necessary way of understanding the motives behind the murder (Bohm 582). Once the suspects are executed, there are no chances of understanding the motives behind murder and other serious crimes that are subject to capital punishment. The parties against capital punishment are willing to pay hence additional costs in related to death penalty. For instance, “organizations such as the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty are willing to pay to stop the death penalty” (Kasten 15). The amounts spent would be useful to the organizations and groups hence it is unnecessary if death penalty is abolished. In average, capital punishment costs the United States nearly $90 million every year.
On the contrary, while making and imposing capital punishment, some of the reasons included to deter people from committing serious crimes like murder. Indeed it was effective in limiting the cases of murder for which it was made, “proponents of capital punishment believe the death penalty’s most significant benefit is deterring potential criminals from committing murder” (Kasten 3). The other reason why capital punishment was imposed was to reduce the crowding at the correctional facilities. After realizing that many convicts were murder suspects, it was necessary that the crowds at the correctional facilities were reduced through capital punishment. In cases where the families of the capital punishment victims are convinced that it is justified for their relatives to be executed, they would cater for the costs of execution (Becker 23). Though such cases are rare, the government benefits from them as the execution is carried out freely. The economic benefits of capital punishment are still an estimation in terms of dollars, “although no overall estimates of the benefits has been provided, a conservative approximation is in the hundreds of millions of dollars due solely to the willingness to pay by proponents of the death penalty who derive nonuse values from its imposition” (Kasten 8).
Currently, most nations of the world are doing away with capital punishment. In summary, capital punishment should be abolished because its marginal costs are higher than its marginal benefits. Though it helps in controlling the incidents of murder and other dangerous crimes, capital punishment leads to many extra costs that may be unnecessary (Becker 58). The costs incurred in police investigations; court processes including appeals and the execution are some of the unnecessary costs that the state incurs from capital punishment. There are many other costs that the state would experience including the loss of manpower provided by the suspects while in the correction facilities (Steiker, and Steiker 117). The jurors who are registered by the state would also lack things to do as there would be no cases to listen to when the suspects are executed. With all the costs of capital punishment compared to its economic benefits, capital punishment should be abolished because its marginal costs are higher than its marginal benefits.
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