The USA loves three things: violent sports, adding more patties to burgers, and executing prisoners. Forty-three prisoners were put down last year, putting us behind only China, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Lethal injection—an odd way of killing someone that is not cruel or unusual at all, according to the courts—was the most popular form of capital punishment. But it’s becoming more and more expensive. Lethel injection is normally a three-step process: The prisoner must be sedated and then paralyzed, before being shot up with potassium chloride, which stops the heart. In 2009, it cost prisons as little as $168.03 to knock off a wrongdoer thanks to the inexpensive, and now unavailable (thanks to some soft-hearted judges), sedative thiopental sodium. The replacement chemical became pentobarbital, which is $861.60 a pop, and raises the price of execution to $1,286.86 per person. Some frugal-minded death penalty states like Texas are wondering if they should eliminate the capital punishment altogether. But why not consider some other, cheaper execution methods first?
Cost: The start-up fee is $265,000 for the chair, but executions are only around $217.25 per prisoner. This includes $150.00 for the executioner and the cost of the necessary but non-resuable materials like shaving cream and a razor to shave the inmate’s head, the brine-soaked sponge for improving contact between the chair’s helmet and the inmate’s skull, Electro-Cream to reduce burns (?), and a leather face mask and diaper to catch/conceal exploding bodily fluids.
States Where It’s an Option: Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, , South Carolina, Tennesse, and Virginia