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


There are too many problems with the death penalty too count. In the United States, the largest death row population reside 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 those 726 men, 36% are black, 32% are white, 24% are Latino.

  • Of the women, 1.5% are white, 1% are Latina, .3% are black.

  • 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 person executed in California was Clarence Ray Allen on January 12, 2006. He was 76, and had been on death row for 23 years.

  • 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.
  • Prop 62 is the only straightforward way to fix this problem. It would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole as the maximum sentence, eliminate the risk of executing an innocent person, provide restitution to victims’ families, and save taxpayers approximately $150 million every year.