Repeal of the Death Penalty Got Its Number: CA Media Buzz
The SAFE (Savings Accountability Full Enforcement) California act, which will provide California voters with the opportunity to repeal the death penalty, will officially appear on the California ballot as Proposition 34 in November. With the vote getting ever closer, the media is placing the death penalty front and center.
California's news station, KCET, recently published a Prop. 34 fact “cheat sheet.” It explains that, if passed, the act would not only eliminate the death penalty for future cases, but also commute the sentences of the 725 Californians on death row to life without parole. The piece cites an analysis from California's Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance, which states that Prop 34 could save California taxpayers tens of millions of dollars annually.
A new piece in Reason Blog highlights the high cost and ineffectuality of the death penalty, flaws that Prop 34 would eliminate. It quotes former San Quentin Death Row Warden and current head of the organization Death Penalty Focus, Jeanne Woodford, “The average time on death row is now approaching 30 years, so we have more inmates on death row who have died by natural causes or by suicide.” The author explains that the death penalty sucks millions of dollars, but is almost never actually implemented. Even opponents of the system such as Kent Scheidegger admit that "We are currently spending far more than we need in both time and resources reviewing claims that have absolutely nothing to do with whether the guy committed the murder or not.”
A recently published Op-Ed by Ana Zamora, of Death Penalty Focus, clarifies fundamental misconceptions regarding Prop 34. She answers questions around whether or not the act would expand the remit of life without parole and explains what would be done with the funds saved by eliminating the death penalty: “Prop. 34 uses a portion of the budget savings from replacing the death penalty for crime-solving. This means $100 million will go to the investigation of unsolved rape and murder cases."
Keep an eye out for more coverage as this campaign continues to heat up.