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Death Row's Big Costs Quantified

As states nationwide are being forced to set free offenders due to overcrowding in prisons, the Death Penalty Information Center has released a study showing that death row is costing Americans millions of dollars. Most notably, cash-strapped California, on the verge of financial collapse, is spending $137 million a year on the death penalty, and hasn't executed anyone in more than three years. The tortuous legal process means that inmates end up sitting in prison while their cases await trial and go through various appeals. New York and New Jersey both spent more than $100 million on the death penalty without actually executing anyone. Police chiefs rate the measure as their least effective crime-fighting tool, and the report cites that most don't believe it's a deterrent to murder. The report also predicts that more states will eschew the draconian enforcement measure as the economic crisis continues.