Death penalty's cost effectiveness evaluated in report

States could save hundreds of millions of dollars by eliminating the death penalty, according to a report released today. The report, which includes a national survey of police chiefs, was compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit group that researches capital punishment.

"Smart on Crime: Reconsidering the Death Penalty in a Time of Economic Crisis," cites recent efforts by Kansas and other states to abolish the death penalty for financial reasons.

While the center doesn't specify a position on capital punishment, it has been criticized as being anti-death penalty.

After the U.S. Supreme Court banned the death penalty in 1972, the high court allowed states to seek it for certain crimes four years later. Kansas didn't reinstate the death penalty until 1994.

The study says that as government budgets wane, many states spend money on seeking the death penalty, while few actually carry out executions.

The El Dorado Correctional Facility has nine inmates awaiting death sentences. Kansas hasn't executed anyone since 1965.

"In a time of painful budget cutbacks, states are pouring money into a system that results in a declining number of death sentences and executions that are almost exclusively carried out in just one area of the country," the report said.

The death penalty also ranked last in the survey of police chiefs as a tool for fighting violent crime.

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