Doug Grow of the Minneapolis Star Tribune in “Should Society Give Up On Its Worst Criminals?” argues against life without parole punishments, in this particular case, for a murder with aggravating circumstances. Interesting to me was a short paragraph on the cost of incarceration:

Figuring it costs $40,000 a year to house a prisoner and assuming that Holliday lives another 50 years, Minnesotans will pay $2 million to care just for Holliday.

Now I don’t expect any great outcry anytime soon for convicted murderers, based on Grow’s column, or really, from any other source. However, I’d like to see more articles about the failed War on Drugs include references to the economic costs to society, so I am encouraged to see these figures in this context as well.

As I’ve argued before,“how much it costs you the taxpayer” is one of the most persuasive (and shocking) arguments to the unthinking drug war supporters, and it may be the one that eventually turns us back towards sanity in our drug legislation.

(Hat Tip: Public Pretender)

  • That works with taxpayers, but it’s a lot harder to convince the people who make the laws. The phrase “how much it costs you the taxpayer” has a different translation for politicians, who hear it as “how many jobs and contracts I control.”