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Study: Banning death penalty in severe mental illness cases would save state $1.4M yearly

PHOTO: Texas Department of Corrections-MGN

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--A study by the American Bar Association (ABA) reports banning the death penalty for people with mental illness in Tennessee would save the state up to $1.9 million per year.

The study was conducted by the ABA's 'Death Penalty Due Process Review Project,' which conducts research on death penalty laws. The study used a sample of Shelby County's death row population and recorded which percentage of the population suffered from severe mental illnesses.

15% of inmates on death row were suffering from severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, delusions, or major depression.

The ABA then cited death penalty case costs compiled in Maryland and applied the calculations to Tennessee.

They found applying a severe mental illness exemption would have saved Tennessee $54 million since 1977 which equates to $1.4 million per year. The average yearly savings would be $1.89 million.

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