A 1976 US Supreme Court decision placed strict rules on the use of the death penalty. Those guidelines come at a high cost to taxpayers.
No studies have been done in Oklahoma, but an audit in Kansas shows the numbers add up fast. It looked at 22 murder cases, seven death penalty decisions, seven that ended with life in prison, and eight cases where the death penalty was never sought. The numbers show an increase in costs beginning with the investigations.
Since death penalty cases are among the worst crimes, investigations cost about three times more. In most instances, those costs are absorbed at the local level.
The average death penalty trial costs about $500,000 compared to $33,000 for non-death penalty cases.
And appeal-related costs are 20 times higher in death penalty cases.
Jail costs in Kansas show that keeping an inmate on death row is slightly less expensive because the inmate is eventually put to death.
Oklahoma's 49 death row inmates are maximum security, meaning they cost us $100 and eighty cents per day. Oklahoma law does not allow for the release of information about the upfront costs per execution.
The Kansas audit concludes that the death penalty is 70 percent more expensive than non-death penalty cases.
No matter the cost--We Paid For It.