Norm Stamper, a 35-year veteran police officer from San Diego, recently wrote in The Mercury News that from his experience, “the death penalty is inefficient and extravagantly expensive.” Instead of spending millions of dollars on the death penalty, Stamper writes, “Spending scarce public resources on after-school programs, mental health care, drug and alcohol treatment, education, more crime labs and new technologies, or on hiring more police officers, would truly help create safer communities.”

Stamper cites the Los Angeles Times, which found that the death penalty in California costs $114 million per year beyond the cost of keeping prisoners in prison for life. The New York Times, he adds, has reported that the states without the death penalty have lower average rates of homicide than those with the death penalty, showing that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent. Furthermore, the sentencing of 124 innocent people to death row has demonstrated the inefficiency and inaccuracies of the death penalty system.
(“Death penalty wastes money, while failing to reduce crime” by Norm Stamper, The Mercury News, Nov. 19, 2007). See also Costs, Innocence, and Deterrence.