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Kansas Studies High Death Penalty Costs

A new study by the Kansas Judicial Council has revealed a serious disparity in cost between regular trials and death penalty trials.

The study, which examined 34 recent death penalty cases, found that jury trials for death penalty cases averaged 40.13 days to compared 16.79 days for non-death penalty trials. The difference in cost was just as large, with death penalty defense costs averaging $395,762 per case, compared to $98,963 for defense in non-death penalty trials. Additionally, housing death row inmates in Kansas cost $49,380 per year compared to $24,690 for regular inmates. These new figures remind us of the high financial cost of a system that is problematic in so many other ways as well.

In 2010, the Nebraska Legislature failed to pass a bill that would have studied the financial cost of the death penalty here in our state. But, we have conservatively estimated that each execution in Nebraska since 1976 has cost $15 million.


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