“Using conservative rough projections, the Commission estimates the annual costs of the present system ($137 million per year), the present system after implementation of the reforms … ($232.7 million per year) … and a system which imposes a maximum penalty of lifetime incarceration instead of the death penalty ($11.5 million).”
-California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, July 1, 2008
The greatest costs associated with the death penalty occur prior to and during trial, not in post-conviction proceedings. Even if all post-conviction proceedings (appeals) were abolished, the death penalty would still be more expensive than alternative sentences.
The death penalty diverts resources from genuine crime control measures. Spending money on the death penalty system means: