Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Cost of Executing Monsters

This week the Idaho Department of Correction released the amount the state's execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades cost the state of Idaho. Not surprisingly for those who are familiar with the cost of carrying out the death penalty, the cost was great. The exact cost IDOC released to the press was $53,411, not including the construction of the new execution chamber (F Block, as it is named).

In an interestingly timed release, the IDOC stated the following:
BOISE, December 30, 2011 – The recent execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades, IDOC #26864, cost the Idaho Department of Correction $53,411.

Of the total, $25,583 went to employee overtime and $27,828 went to operating costs [...]

[...] Operating expenses include medical supplies, equipment rentals and meals. The total cost figure does not include salary and benefits paid to IDOC staff who would have been working regardless of whether or not there had been an execution. Only overtime costs that were accrued as a result of the event were included in the final tally.

The press release went on to compare the cost of the state of Idaho's execution of Rhoades with that of the state of Oregon as they prepared for the execution of an inmate who was ultimately granted a reprieve when the governor of that state placed a moratorium on executions. The two states were separated by merely a few thousand dollars. The insertion of this information in the press release may only be a way for the IDOC to explain to the general public that the cost is comparable to other states and other executions, but it seemed inappropriate to be announcing that we can kill a man in the name of our people for cheaper than another state can.

When the new execution chamber was revealed to the people of the state of Idaho prior to Rhoades' execution, we were told that the necessity presented itself when the state began to realize there would be several more executions in the coming years. Maybe that is so, unfortunately to those of us who would rather our state not take lives in our name, but it doesn't erase the cost.

As long as we choose to execute the monsters among us, there will be a cost.

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