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Thu., June 5, 2014

Cost of lifers steep

For those favoring life imprisonment over execution, consider: Prisons are overcrowded. It costs (Vera Institute of Justice, 2012) nearly $800 million per year to incarcerate Washington’s 17,000 inmates. That’s about $47,000 per inmate per year. One lifer can suck $3 million out of taxpayer’s pockets.

That $47,000 is a living wage for most of us, yet we shell out that much money just to ensure one single murderer receives three hots and a cot.

Capital punishment is intended as a deterrent to crime, not just a solution, although the latter is realized with executions. But so is life incarceration, if there is a cell available, and no chance of parole.

As for one execution controversy, a firing squad need not be made up of individuals with rifles. There are hands-off appliances that will hold any firearm on target with pinpoint accuracy. Sure, someone will still have to flip the master switch, but the result is the same and a bullet is cheap.

The biggest stumbling block with all death penalties is the legal wrangling our courts allow. In some states, one death row inmate can suck millions more from the taxpayers in endless appeals, on top of the cost of incarceration.

David Michaelson

Harrington, Wash.

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