The conversation around the death penalty is changing in the United States. With the shortage of execution drugs for states due to the drug companies unwillingness to provide them for the purposes of executions, some states have been left to seek drugs on the black markets while others have halted executions all together.

Still, media headlines have covered the botched executions in states across the midwest, including Arkansas, which has only exacerbated the unwillingness of companies to provide drugs.

Civil liberties advocates have called into question the level of pain, labeling it cruel and unusual – a violation of the 8th Amendment – and an inmate in Georgia recently requested to be put to death by firing squad instead of lethal injection…even though a firing squad is not a legal form of execution in the state of Georgia.

So what is the death penalty like around the nation?

  • Case-level costs for death penalty proceedings run about $700,000 more on average than instances in which prosecutors don’t seek capital punishment because of issues such as increased pretrial and post-conviction incarceration terms, expenses for additional attorneys and lengthy appeals
  • Prosecutors spend about three times more on death penalty proceedings, while defense teams spend nearly 10 times more
  • It costs just more than 1½ times the amount to incarcerate a capital defendant before trial, because they typically stay in jail for a longer term

Executions in the U.S., 1976-July 1, 2016, per the Las Vegas Sun

**New Mexico has repealed the death penalty, but those already sentenced remain under sentence of death


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Jessica Szilagyi is statewide contributor for All On Georgia and Market Manager for Southeast Georgia. Her main focus with All On Georgia is state and local politics as well as agriculture. She’s served as a policy analyst at the State Capitol and as a campaign manager in political races across the state.

She writes for and has two blogs of her own: ‘The Perspicacious Conservative’, a political blog, and ‘Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers’, a blog on moving from Atlanta to rural Georgia. Jessica is also a contributor for Fox5 Atlanta’s ‘Like it Or Not.’