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Executions Down as States Run Low on Cash

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The Death Penalty Information Center's annual report showed US executions decreased 12% this year
to 46, according to Reuters.

Apparently, the decline from 52 executions in 2009 occurred "in part because there is a shortage of the drug used in lethal injections and because executions are too expensive in tough economic times."

Texas led the nation with 17 convicts put to death, but going by the figures cited on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's website, the high price of capital punishment most assuredly comes from years of mandatory legal appeals, not from the actual cost of the execution itself.

There are five methods of execution in the United States: lethal injection, electrocution, lethal gas, hanging, and firing squad.

In Texas, a lethal injection combines Sodium Thiopental, Pancuronium Bromide, and Potassium Chloride, at a total cost of $86.08.

In Florida, putting someone to death in the electric chair involves a jolt of 2,300 volts, 9.5 amps, for 8 seconds; 1,000 volts, 4 amps for 22 seconds; and 2,300 volts, 9.5 amps for 8 seconds, which can't add much to an institution's Con Ed bill. However, the state does have to hire "a private citizen who is paid $150 per execution. State law allows for his or her identity to remain anonymous."

In Utah, where death by firing squad still occurs, five marksmen simultaneously squeeze off one round from matching .30-caliber rifles, with one blank loaded in a randomly chosen gun, so no one knows who delivered the fatal shot. As for cost, a box of 20 Winchester .30-caliber rounds retails for $25.97, bringing the per-cartridge cost to $1.29. Total price: $6.49.

Washington State and New Hampshire are the only two states that still hang condemned men. While an exact cost was hard to pin down, has 1-inch jute rope with an 8,100-pound breaking point for sale at $0.74/ft. Estimating at least 12 feet for a sturdy noose, that comes to a little under nine bucks.

Regarding the cost of a gas chamber execution, you're on your own. I started to get way too creeped out as I continued researching this.

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