Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cost an Issue in Kansas

"McGinn proposes suspending death penalty," is the editorial in today's Topeka Capital-Journal.
As the Kansas Legislature works to find ways to cut expenses in the face of a budget shortfall, Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, has proposed an interesting solution — suspending the state's death penalty.

Whether one supports or opposes the idea of capital punishment, no doubt capital murder cases cost Kansans considerably more than other murder cases.

According to a 2003 legislative post audit report, death penalty cases cost, on average, 70 percent more than cases in which the death penalty wasn't sought.

Since 1994, when Kansas reinstated the death penalty, the state has spent $4.7 million on fewer than 20 cases. Three of the cases cost the state $2 million.

Doing away with the death penalty seems like a sensible way to cut costs without cutting programs that could actually benefit Kansans. The Legislature should suspend, if not eliminate, Kansas' death penalty.

Earlier coverage of the Kansas proposal is here.

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