The High Cost of Capital Punishment

Capital punishment has become one of the most controversial topics in the United States.

Each year, a handful of inmates in the United States wait to meet their fate on death row after being convicted of felonious charges or drug charges.

While some would say the cost of each prisoner that would serve life in prison is more expensive, others speculate that the cost of an execution far outweighs this spending.

In this info graphic, you’ll learn about the cost of the death penalty and have an opportunity to draw your own conclusion on this ongoing controversy.

How Much does Capital Punishment Cost?

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Who Allows the Death Penalty?

As of September of 2011, there have been 1,267 executions since 1976.

Methodology of execution:

  • 1093 Lethal Injections.
  • 157 Electrocutions
  • 11 Gassings
  • 3 Hangings
  • 3 Shot by a Firing Squad

A total of 3,170 prisoners are currently on death row.

The Cost of an Execution

Cost of a randomly selected lethal injection:

  • Phone Installations: $7,290
  • Payroll of Execution Team: $6,227
  • Facility Maintenance: $3,093
  • Lethal Injection Drug: $122
  • Miscellaneous Supplies: $67

TOTAL: $16,799

The cost of an electrocution is very similar.

  • Instead of the cost for the drug, there’s a $200 electrician fee.


  • In Kansas, the average cost of a death penalty case is $1.26 million whereas the cost of a non-death penalty case is $740,000.
  • In Maryland, it costs $3 million on average for a single death row case.
  • California spends an estimated $137 million a year on their current death penalty system.

It’s estimated that the same system without the death penalty would cost $11.5 million.

  • Since 1978, it has cost California around $4 billion to keep their death penalty program.

American Disposition on the Death Penalty

  • Death Penalty : 33%
  • Life without parole plus restitution: 39%
  • Life without parole: 13%
  • Life with parole: 9%
  • No opinion: 6%


While a portion of Americans are still in favor of the death penalty, the debate continues as to whether sending an inmate to death row is worth the cost of both the trail and execution.

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