NEW RESOURCES: DPIC's Summary of 2011 California Cost Study

The Death Penalty Information Center has prepared a summary of a comprehensive cost study of California’s death penalty system recently published by federal Judge Arthur L. Alarcon and Loyola Law School Professor Paula M. Mitchell. The original study is entitled Executing the Will of the Voters?: A Roadmap to Mend or End the California Legislature’s Multi-Billion Dollar Death Penalty Debacle, and it was published in a special issue of the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review. Using charts, graphs, and pertinent quotes, DPIC’s summary shows how the authors arrived at the $4 billion price tag for the state’s death penalty system. The summary illustrates the percentage of costs attributable to trials, appeals and incarceration, and explains why the system is so expensive. It also provides the legislative history of the state’s statute and why the authors believe the law may be subject to reversal by the courts. The report and summary conclude with the authors’ recommendations for saving the state hundreds of millions of dollars by either sharply curtailing the use of the death penalty or doing away with it completely. See DPIC’s Summary of the Study or read the entire article.

(DPIC Summary, posted August 5, 2011). See Costs and Studies. Despite the state’s enormous expenditures on the death penalty, the system has produced only 13 executions in over 30 years and none in over 5 years. Over 700 people remain on death row.