Listening to every heart
FYI from Internet information available:
The money trail
· By the mid-1990s the US was spending in excess of $200 billion annually on the crime-control industry.8
· An individual sentenced to five years for a $300 theft costs the public approximately $125,000.8
· A Rand Corporation Study predicts California's new three-strikes-and-you're-out law will cost an additional $5.5 billion in criminal-justice expenditures.9
· In Canada between 1971 and 1991 the number of police officers increased 41% and the number of private security guards increased by 126%. By 1991 private security forces outnumbered police by about 2 to 1.10
· In the US two major companies account for 50% of private contracts to run prisons.11
· Average yearly cost per inmate (1994)12 US $30,000, Aotearoa $40,000, Canada $51,000
· New Conservative proposals for a tougher penal regime will increase the UK's incarcerated population by 28,000 and require the building of 48 new prisons at an estimated cost of $4.5 billion and an additional running cost of $945 million.13
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing are disturbed that suspect Timothy McVeigh's 12-attorney defense team is being funded by the federal government he is accused of attacking.
''I think, if we continue to have trials that cost this much money, the trials themselves will victimize the taxpayer,'' Dr. Paul Heath, president of the Oklahoma City Murrah Building Survivors Association, told the Buffalo News for a story in Sunday's editions.
''It's going to cause a significant attitude change on the part of the taxpayers toward the judicial system.''
<> Witness has long criminal record
McVeigh, a Pendleton, N.Y., native, has a team of 12 defense attorneys, each working at a cost of $125 an hour, the News reported. And since McVeigh has no money, federal taxpayers are paying the bill.
''I've been told by (McVeigh's lead attorney) that before this trial is over, if you include the prosecution side and the FBI, it will cost in excess of $50 million,'' said Heath, who was in his fifth-floor office when the bomb went off on April 19, 1995. ''The Murrah building only cost $37 million.''
McVeigh goes on trial March 31 for the bombing, which killed 168 people and injured more than 500. Some are already calling his trial the most expensive proceeding in American legal history.
Because prosecutors seek the death penalty and McVeigh has no money to pay for his defense, federal law guarantees him two court-appointed lawyers. But McVeigh's lead attorney, Stephen Jones, has added others to the team as the case grows more and more complicated. At times, 15 lawyers have worked on his defense, the Buffalo News said.
''The Justice Department has tremendous resources available to prosecute a major case, and in the interest of keeping a level playing field, there must be a strong defense,'' said David A. Sellers, spokesman for the U.S. Office of Courts Administration.
''It's often very difficult to find a lawyer who will even take a death-penalty case. There are entire states that don't have one lawyer who will take one.''
Because the case is being tried in Denver to ensure a pool of jurors not directly affected by the bombing, the government is also paying for the living expenses of the defense team.
Living expenses for McVeigh's 12 lawyers, four secretaries, three support staff members and project manager costs taxpayers about $50,000 a month, Jones has said. The trial could last six months.
Taxpayers also pick up travel expenses. An investigator working on the case for McVeigh recently traveled from San Francisco to Buffalo to interview witnesses.
Another eight lawyers will represent suspect Terry L. Nichols, McVeigh's former Army friend -- also at taxpayer expense -- for his separate trial.
The government team is expected to number at least nine prosecutors at both trials.
In 1994, the latest year for which statistics are available, taxpayers spent $263.5 million to defend criminal suspects in the federal courts, according to the U.S. Office of Courts Administration.
More than 81,000 defendants that year were represented by attorneys whose fees or salaries were paid by the federal government.