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Facts about the death penalty

A Costly Failure: Why It's Time to End The Death Penalty System


There are too many problems with the death penalty to count. In the United States, the largest death row population resides in California, where taxpayers spend $150 million every year to support a system that has killed 13 people in since 1978 and no one in the last decade.

There are 747 people on death row, 21 women, 726 men.

Of the condemned, 36% are black men, 32% are white men, 24% are Latino men.

1.5% are white women, 1% are Latina women, .3% are black women.

The men are housed at a maximum security unit at San Quentin State Prison, the women in maximum security at the Central California Women's Facility near Chowchilla.

The condemned range in age from 24 — 82.

The average length of time an inmate is on death row is 18 years.

The last execution in California took place on January 12, 2006. The condemned inmate was 76, and had been on death row for 23 years. There have been no executions in more than a decade.

The counties with the highest death sentencing rates from 2010-2015 are Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino.

A 2011 study by Ninth Circuit Judge Arthur L. Alarcon and Loyola Law School professor Paula M. Mitchell calculated that California taxpayers have spent more than $4 billion since capital punishment was reinstated in 1978, and estimate the annual cost of pursuing executions to be $184 million more than pursuing life without parole. Since then the expenses have only grown, and total cost estimates now exceed $5 billion since 1978.

The state’s Legislative Analyst’s office estimates that California would save $150 million a year if it replaced the death penalty with a sentence of life without parole.

Ending the death penalty is the only way to "fix" these systemic problems. Alternative sentencing would eliminate the risk of executing innocent people, provide legal closure to victims' families, and save taxpayers approximately $150 million every year.

It's time to end this costly, failed system.

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