Last month, dozens of probation officers and about 100 positions at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement were cut, with others barely escaping the state budget blade. Counties are trimming sheriff’s personnel. Many jails are overcrowded.
All of this occurs as violent crime in Florida persists at rates higher than the national averages.
In such a climate, the state should rethink its pursuit of the ‘‘ultimate punishment.’’
Because of heightened constitutional requirements, death penalty cases are far more expensive than murder trials in which life without parole is sought.
Differentials vary, but last year a major study in Maryland concluded that in that state ‘‘an average capital-eligible case resulting in a death sentence will cost approximately $3 million, $1.9 million more than a case where the death penalty was not sought.’’ In the comparison, the cost of a death penalty case is weighed against figures that include the cost of lifelong imprisonment. ...
Because of the tens of millions of dollars spent adjudicating them, death penalty cases may soon be seen as detracting from — not contributing to — a safer society.