From The Daily Kansan.
By Caitlin Thornbrugh
With the majority of the nation looking to save even a few dollars, it is not a surprise that the state of Kansas is trying to economize a budget that is becoming more and more of a problem.
On Friday, a Senate committee will review a proposal to repeal the death penalty in Kansas. The Senate should vote in favor of the repeal, not only because it is a human rights issue, but because it will save the state a substantial amount of money.
During a budget crisis, even a traditionally conservative state should see the benefits of saving money from the proposed bill.
Today, The Kansan reported that Sen. Marci Franciso (D-Lawrence) said she thought the primary reason this topic was being discussed was because of the status of the budget. A death penalty prosecution can cost as much as a million dollars, she said, while a life sentence without parole could save taxpayers half a million dollars or more for each case.
According to Senate Bill 208 the average cost of a murder case without the death penalty sentence costs approximately 70 percent less than the average cost of a case that does have a death sentence. The misinformed argument that it is too expensive to impose life sentences without parole is false.
Kansas is one of 35 states that have a death penalty sentence for certain crimes. In Kansas, capital punishment has not been used once since its re-enactment 16 years ago. This lack of use is yet another reason to eliminate an unnecessary, money draining procedure.
Aside from monetary reasons, the death penalty also raises human rights questions. Capital punishment has a history of racism and execution of the innocent. These problems, along with fiscal motivations, establish a firm argument against the death penalty law.
The Senate committee will be making a fiscally responsible decision, as well as voting in favor of human rights, if it passes this bill to the full Senate. Students at the University, who are affected by the state budget, should contact their senators to support repealing the death penalty law.