HB 379: Repeal of the Death Penalty
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We have written extensively about the problems associated with the death penalty in our policy brief and op-ed. We have also produced a short video explaining why the death penalty should be eliminated. It is too costly, it is inefficient, and it does not promote good public safety. Instead, it siphons money from more important criminal justice priorities in order to fund what has essentially become expensive retribution. It would be wise policy to stop seeking the death penalty.
House Bill 379, sponsored by Representative Gage Froerer, would repeal the death penalty in Utah. For all crimes prosecuted after May 7th, 2018, the state could not seek the death penalty in applicable capital murder cases. Instead, these defendants would face the same penalty as most murder suspects—life in prison, including life without the possibility for parole.
A recent study by the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice shows that the death penalty costs $20 million per death sentence. When Utahns are told how much the death penalty costs, they choose repeal by more than 2 to 1. And when given the alternative choice of life without parole, Utahns favor ending the death penalty by 65% to 30%.