The execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner by firing squad this morning has brought several questions to mind. Mostly I have been thinking about the cost of an inmate's room and board.
All moral objections aside, which is more cost effective: life sentence or death?
Logically, it would seem that a death sentence would be more efficient. Instead of paying $30k+ for 50 years (total of $1.5m), you would pay $30k+ for approximately 10 years ($300,00). As for the execution, an article in a Salt Lake City paper has said it cost $46k to execute Ronnie Lee. That is still FAR below the $1.5m. Plus, we have the knowledge that the killer will never kill again since he is now DEAD.
According to the article (found at http://www.sltrib.com/justice/ci_15280054), it costs tons more to keep a prisoner on death row than it does to keep them in general population. That doesn't make sense to me. Why?
Also according to the article, it costs the state millions for the inmate to keep making appeals as the state has to pay for the attorneys and the fact-finding. Again, why?
Some of the 700 inmates on death row in California have been there for 25 years! Um...why? They were sentenced to die. Kill them.
Seriously, I don't understand why we are so reluctant to kill someone that has been convicted of such a horrible crime, they can never be let loose in public. Maybe I am too big of a fan of the Old West (I still think hanging should be an option).
Let's look at it another way: if a dog gets out of his fence and kills or even just bites a person walking by, the dog is immediately sentenced to death. This sentence is carried out immediately. If a person kills another person, we look the other way. Huh? Sure, we may send them to prison, but we still let them live.
Some people say the killer should "live with the knowledge they took another life." Okay, but most of them have no regrets over the killing. If they had regrets, they would not have been sentenced to DEATH.
I think there needs to be a time limit when a death sentence is given. If all appeals within a five year period have failed, it is time to send the murderer to the Great Beyond.