California Spent 4 Million Dollars Trying to Kill Prisoner

October 2, 2010

One would assume that a state facing a significant financial crisis would choose to spend its resources on practical policies and beneficial projects. Why, then, did California waste $4 million in order to accomplish… nothing? Perhaps that’s unfair; the state did have a goal in mind while spending this money – executing Albert Brown.  Not an admirable goal, and, thankfully, Albert Brown is still alive and in prison.

Why not save the time, funds, and pain associated with the death penalty? As James Clark of Southern California’s ACLU suggests, replacing  the death penalty with life without parole, and requiring people in prison to work and provide restitution to victims’ families, would be a much better use of the state’s time and resources. In California, the current system costs $137 million per year; it would cost $11.5 million for a system without the death penalty. Why is the state so hell-bent on sentencing offenders in the most fiscally irresponsible way possible?

It has been nearly five years since California has put anyone to death, and thanks to a lethal injection drug’s expiration date, it would be at least next year before executions could conceivably resume. Maybe in the upcoming months California officials can be persuaded to make better use of taxpayers’ money, and will stop wasting it on these pointless efforts to kill prisoners.