The state senate has started considering the economics of the death penalty.     

St. Louis Senator Joseph Keaveny figures it costs one-half million dollars more to execute and inmate than to keep that person in prison for life without parole.  He wants the state auditor to pick ten death penalty cases and ten life-without-parole cases and compare the costs to taxpayers.

Cape Girardeau Senator Jason Crowell knows what the results will be—it’s exponentially more expensive to pay for imprisonment and years of court appeals before executions. .    

But he also warns elimination of the death penalty could drive up the costs of those doing life without parole because the death penalty is an important bargaining chip that leads many people to strike a plea bargain for life without…..thus saving costs of trials and years of appeals.

Crowell hopes any decision on the death penalty is made on the basis is justice, not on the basis of dollars and cents.

The senate has not reached a vote on having the audit. 

AUDIO: Listen to the debate 27:30