A debate is brewing in Colorado after a lifer is sentenced for murdering another inmate inside Supermax. Dominic Stewart was convicted of killing a fellow prisoner while serving a life sentence for another murder. He is expected to have another life sentence added to the one he's already serving.
But many critics say it may not be worth it. They argue that prosecutions are expensive, costing on average half a million dollars and even more in death penalty cases. And that doesn't include paying court personnel or the jurors' time. Some say that's a waste of government resources in a time when there's nothing to spare.
Prosecutors say you can't put a price on justice, and punishing inmates sends a clear message that violence inside prison won't be tolerated. They add that not prosecuting lifers could look like a hall pass to kill anyone you want. A spokesman for Supermax says prosecuting inmates is necessary to maintain security. Prosecutors also point out that sometimes murderers serving life sentences have their convictions overturned on technicalities, and another violent conviction in prison can help ensure they will never get out.
In Colorado state prisons 16 inmates were murdered by another prisoner between 2002 and 2010, and in federal prisons in the state there have been 5 homicides in 7 years.
(source: KRDO News)