Oregonian Letter to Editor: Abolish Oregon's Death Penalty

Oregonian Letter to Editor: Abolish Oregon's Death Penalty

Regarding "Hard choices: Oregon's money crisis" (Sept. 29): In a time of extreme budget crisis within the state of Oregon and the country as a whole, simple ways to reduce budgetary deficits while continuing to provide the citizenry with necessary social services at an adequate level seem all the more important. One very simple way to accomplish this goal, as well as ensure that we have a criminal justice system for all Oregonians, is to abolish Oregon's capital punishment statute.

In the story "Can Oregon afford the death penalty?" (April 19, 2009), The Oregonian reported that Oregon taxpayers pay approximately 10 times as much to defend an indigent capital defendant than an indigent defendant who is charged with the same crime but who is not facing the death penalty. That figure does not include the increased cost of prosecuting capital cases, where the caliber of expert witnesses and professionals needed to testify at trial is elevated, nor the cost of the appellate process.

Abolishing the death penalty and funneling the millions of dollars per year that it costs to keep 34 Oregon men on death row directly into funds for social services such as drug and alcohol addiction programs and community mental health treatment would be a simple way to save money while being smart on crime and public policy.




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