Today I came across this very interesting article which claims that in America the death penalty costs on average $10 million more per yer per state than life sentences. That is $500 million more per year if you consider the all 50 states. There have been 37 executions in USA last year, so that roughly accounts to 13.5 millions per execution per year.
WTF!!! was my first, second and third reaction. Way too much money to kill a few bastards, by any standard. Seriously, America needs to get its act together - indeed it's their money, but if you read that article you'll see that many people in USA itself think that it is ridiculous - because there are a lot of things you could do, lot of good things with that much of money.
Personally, I'm not either for or against the capital punishment as I see pretty strong arguments for both the cases. You could of course argue that no human, even a system, has the right to take the life of another human being irrespective of the crimes they might have committed. Also, if you see the brutality of all the methods that are employed in executing - electric chair, gas chamber or even the lethal injection is no better than stoning to death; killing is killing - that is all the more reason to oppose it. On the other hand, some of the crimes people have committed are entirely unimaginable - not to mention how barbaric - and deserve nothing short of death. If you are willing to kill another human being, if you are so desperate to rape a woman, then you so deserve to die as well. On a bit of a different note, those Amnesty International people who scream their lungs out against it amuses me at times - I often wonder how many of them eat meat. How is it OK to kill an innocent animal just so you could eat it, but not OK to get rid of a shameless bastard that has committed darkest of crimes imaginable? Beats me.
However, if the cost of the process of executing a criminal is that high, surely you have to think twice. You can imprison the criminal for good for far less money and put that money into good use. Besides, sometimes I think that imprisonment could be a far worse punishment than the death penalty, in the longer run, but it has to be proper. Someone who's sentence for life should not be able to come out in 20 years. A life sentence should be a life sentence, not a 20 year vacation. If it's made sure they spend the rest of their lives inside four confined walls with no one to talk, then that would perhaps be the meanest of tortures that there is. Living inside a dark and lone room everyday, knowing that there is no escape for the rest of you life is worse than dying, make no mistake. Serves them right. While that is being done, all that saved money can be used to make lives better for people, in turn eliminating the cause for many a crime - poverty. Educate a few children, hell you can educate a lot more than few children with five hundred million dollars. Give them better jobs, make their lives better and that'll serve better for reducing crime more than any punishment that there is.
That will be money well spent.