Why is a death sentence execution so expensive?

I have heard that it costs several million dollars to execute a death row prisoner

What’s the more accurate amount, and why does it cost so much?

I can’t lay my hands on good numbers at the moment, but it’s not the execution that costs the money. It’s the years of legal proceedings that precede the execution that cost the money. Of course, we could save a bundle by cutting off rights of appeal, and making execution swift. The downside, obviously, is that we’d end up executing a fair number of innocent people, judging by the number of people who are discovered to be innocent after spending years sitting on death row.

Here’s a website that, while it’s obviously anti-death penalty, is loaded with facts and figures that appear to come from people who are in a position to know, like government officials from various states and counties.

One thing to remember is that, since most death row inmates are indigent, the state ends up covering the legal expenses of both prosecution and defense. Lots of bucks.

Personally, as much as it offends me, I recently realized that it’s probably not a bad thing if an execution costs as much as a life sentence. I’m not anti-death penalty per se though I have strong doubts about the infallibility of the legal system in capital cases), but I absolutely never want the state to ever consider killing anyone for any reason other than the strict facts of the case. I don’t want the state to kill someone because it’s more cost effective - whether it’s a direct or indirect decision (e.g. “Can you believe we’re going to spend millions of dollars to feed and house this scum for the rest of his life?”)