FUND(S):



Sources of Revenue:

General Fund

Legislation creates:

A New Fund



Fiscal Note Summary


Effect this measure will have on costs and revenues of state government.


    This bill would have a massive fiscal impact on the West Virginia Division of Corrections and the State of West Virginia. Although the bill would most likely be applied prospectively, and taking into account that these types of offenders typically have rather long sentences, the language as drafted would double or more the average length of stay of those convicted of Murder. Although the bill provides for the death penalty, it also specifies that those convicted of first degree murder are not eligible for parole. The fiscal impact of just one offender, convicted of murder, whose length of stay doubles would be $366,705 (assuming they did not get parole at 15 years and spent 30 years total, $24,447 average annual cost per inmate in FY2012 x 15 years). Eliminating parole for these offenders would have a “stacking” effect and would eventually lead to the need for bed expansions.
    
    Finally, implementation of the Death Penalty would require, at minimum: 1. Hiring and training of specialized staff, 2. Site acquisition and construction of a suitable building, and 3. Purchase of a variety of specialized equipment. These costs, and the significant unpredictable costs that would also likely arise, coupled with the fact that the average length of stay for death row offenders in some states is 10 to 15 years, would lead us to predict that the imposition of the Death Penalty would require a significant fiscal commitment to accomplish. Finally, it could be argued that despite the assumed reduced length of stay of death row offenders the adoption of this policy would not result in a long-term cost savings to the State of West Virginia.
    



Fiscal Note Detail


Effect of Proposal Fiscal Year
2013
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
2014
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
Fiscal Year
(Upon Full
Implementation)
1. Estmated Total Cost 0 0 0
Personal Services 0 0 0
Current Expenses 0 0 0
Repairs and Alterations 0 0 0
Assets 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0
2. Estimated Total Revenues 0 0 0


Explanation of above estimates (including long-range effect):


    



Memorandum


    This bill would have a massive fiscal impact on the West Virginia Division of Corrections and the State of West Virginia. Although the bill would most likely be applied prospectively, and taking into account that these types of offenders typically have rather long sentences, the language as drafted would double or more the average length of stay of those convicted of Murder. Although the bill provides for the death penalty, it also specifies that those convicted of first degree murder are not eligible for parole. The fiscal impact of just one offender, convicted of murder, whose length of stay doubles would be $366,705 (assuming they did not get parole at 15 years and spent 30 years total, $24,447 average annual cost per inmate in FY2012 x 15 years). Eliminating parole for these offenders would have a “stacking” effect and would eventually lead to the need for bed expansions.
    
    Finally, implementation of the Death Penalty would require, at minimum: 1. Hiring and training of specialized staff, 2. Site acquisition and construction of a suitable building, and 3. Purchase of a variety of specialized equipment. These costs, and the significant unpredictable costs that would also likely arise, coupled with the fact that the average length of stay for death row offenders in some states is 10 to 15 years, would lead us to predict that the imposition of the Death Penalty would require a significant fiscal commitment to accomplish. Finally, it could be argued that despite the assumed reduced length of stay of death row offenders the adoption of this policy would not result in a long-term cost savings to the State of West Virginia.



    Person submitting Fiscal Note: Loita Butcher
    Email Address: loita.c.butcher@wv.gov