Pa. Death Penalty Rarely Used, But Costly

FILE – This Jan. 21, 2003 file photo shows an unidentified death row inmate in his cell in the North Condemned Unit at Pontiac Correctional Institution in Pontiac, Ill. On Friday, July 1, 2011, a ban that Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law in March took effect, shutting down Illinois’ death row. It’s a quiet last chapter to the story of capital punishment in Illinois, which captured the attention of the world in 2000 when then-Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium. Ryan cleared death row entirely three years later. Illinois has executed 12 men since 1977 when the death penalty was reinstated, the last one in 1999. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — It has been 12 years since Pennsylvania executed a convicted killer, but in that time, death row has still cost taxpayers more than $27 million.

Every year, the state Department of Corrections spends an estimated $10,000 more for each inmate on the country’s fourth largest death row compared to other prisoners. That’s despite a de facto halt on capital punishment in Pennsylvania for all but prisoners who voluntarily go to their executions. The last person put to death against his will was in 1962, half a century ago.

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