Study: Louisiana death penalty costs millions, accomplishes 'next to nothing'
A new study released Thursday shows it costs $281-million more than non-death penalty cases to execute someone in Louisiana. The study was conducted by Hon. Calvin Johnson, retired Chief Judge of the Orleans Criminal District and Prof. William P. Quigley of the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.
“The study reveals how shockingly little Louisiana gets in return for the millions being spent on the death penalty," said Marcus Maldonado, Louisiana Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty Advisory Committee member. "It is a staggering sum and an indefensible government expenditure when you consider all this money results in reversals, wrongful convictions, and no public safety benefit.”
The study examined available data and noted that because some numbers were not available the real cost is likely higher.
E. King Alexander, member of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee and an Advisory Committee member of Louisiana Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty notes, “Conservatives stand for a relatively small and fiscally-responsible government. We need to pay first for what we must, and second, if there is anything left, for what we would like to do that most benefits the people of the state. We should not take money from taxpayers to pay for things that are more expensive than the alternative and don't even work.”
Louisiana is one of eleven states in 2019 where Republican lawmakers are sponsoring death penalty repeal legislation. The co-sponsors are Sen. Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge) who is a former prosecutor and Rep. Terry Landry (D – Iberia) who is a former Louisiana Police Superintendent.
"The waste of taxpayer dollars is a big reason why record numbers of conservative Republican state lawmakers around the country are speaking out against the system," said Hannah Cox, National Manager of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. "They believe in limited government and they also value life."
83-percent of capital convictions in Louisiana are reversed or decreased to a lesser sentence. Louisiana also leads the nation in per-capita wrongful convictions with 11-people released from death row. There has been one execution in the last 17 years and the person volunteered and waived his appeals.
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