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Death Penalty Wastes Too Much Money

This letter was published on February 22, 2018 at

Abolish the death penalty; it wastes too much money

Feb. 13 marks the third anniversary of a moratorium that halted all executions in Pennsylvania. It was enacted by Gov. Tom Wolf in part because of the high cost of the death penalty.

Many people mistakenly believe that the death penalty is cheaper than life in prison without parole. In reality, study after study across the nation has shown that death is far more expensive. A 2016 analysis by the Reading Eagle estimated that Pennsylvania has spent $816 million pursuing the death penalty since 1978. The result? Three executions.

That shakes out to an astonishing $272 million per execution carried out at the taxpayers’ expense. That money could be used to improve education or provide better funding for crime victim services.

The death penalty may look like justice, but in reality it’s a broken and wasteful system that Pennsylvania can’t afford. The moratorium was a step in the right direction. Now we need to abolish the death penalty before we waste any more money.

Tessa Sikora, Pulaski

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