Death row costs way too much

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The crime victims’ compensation fund will soon be out of money. It helps victims of violent crime with medical bills and counselling. Families are helped with funeral expenses. Multiple sources calculate that each death row prisoner costs $175,000 more per year than a prisoner sentenced to life. This is mostly for housing and legal costs. Multiply that by 718 death row prisoners and it amounts to a billion dollars over five years. Even ardent supporters of the death penalty agree that it is not working. Since the death penalty law passed in 1977, 13 prisoners have been executed while 70 have died from natural causes, 17 from suicide and five from prison violence. The prison system wants to build a new $500 million death row to warehouse the prisoners for the 30-plus years from crime to execution. Where are our tax-fighting legislators, news editors, groups who want to help crime victims and taxpayer organizations? Paul Comiskey, Newcastle