Recession May Kill Pricey Death Penalty

Worried about legal costs, states consider abolition
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Feb 25, 2009 10:42 AM CST
Florida's lethal injection gurney is shown in an undated handout photo taken in the redesigned death chamber which will accommodate either the electric chair or the gurney at Florida State Prison.   (AP Photo/Fla. Dept. of Corrections, File)
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(Newser) – Death and taxes may always be with us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fiddle with them. Specifically, as the recession decreases tax revenue for states, some are considering abolishing the death penalty, which can cost millions. “And we can’t afford that, when there are better and cheaper ways to reduce crime,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley tells the New York Times.

Maryland, Montana, and New Mexico are thought to have a good chance of passing bills abolishing the practice, while Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and New Hampshire are considering it, too. But some say there would be hidden costs. Asks one prosecutor, “How do you put a price tag on crimes that don’t happen because threat of the death penalty deters them?”