JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP/KMOX) — A Democratic lawmaker from St. Louis wants the Missouri auditor’s office to investigate the cost of applying the death penalty.
State Sen. Joe Keaveny says the audit would be the first comprehensive study in Missouri to compare the cost of the death penalty with sentencing an offender to life in prison without parole. Keaveny filed a bill seeking the audit this week.
“We know, from states like Kansas that have studied this issue, that it costs much more to carry out the death penalty than it does to incarcerate a convicted felon for life,” Sen. Keaveny said. “But there have been no formal studies of the cost of the death penalty in Missouri. By requiring the Missouri State Auditor to conduct the review, we remove political considerations about the effectiveness or morality of the death penalty and focus on what it costs the taxpayers of our state to execute prisoners.”
“I’m not interested in debating the effectiveness of capital punishment as a criminal deterrent, or whether the state should have the power to take a life — I simply want to know how much it is costing Missouri taxpayers to carry out the death penalty,” Sen. Keaveny said. “If the state auditor finds we are spending millions more to execute prisoners rather than incarcerating them for life, then we can have the debate over whether or not Missouri should be a death penalty state.”
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