A recent San Jose Mercury News editorial recommended including the death penalty in the California Performance Review prepared for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to reduce public spending. The paper stated that the abandonment of capital punishment would save valuable taxpayer dollars in the state and praised local efforts to support a temporary halt to executions while capital punishment is reviewed. The editorial noted:

Termination of the death penalty would add immeasurably to the $32 billion in savings projected if all of the recommendations in the review are adopted. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, “The death penalty is escaping the decisive cost-benefit analysis to which every other program is being put in times of austerity.”

The center asserts further that “the death penalty is much more expensive than its closest alternative — life imprisonment with no parole. Capital trials are longer and more expensive at every step than other murder trials.”

The Board of Supervisors of Santa Clara has wisely adopted a resolution recommending a moratorium and study of the death penalty in California. This is a step in the right direction.

(San Jose Mercury News, August 8, 2004; emphasis added.) See Costs.