Broad coalition will work towards ending the death penalty in California
by Brian Leubitz
It is often said that California voters are attached to the death penalty, that they would never vote against it. That something like 2/3 of voters support it in concept. But reality is far different from concept, and voters know that. We don't actually carry out the death penalty, yet we spend millions of dollars prosecuting it.
It's time for something different.
Today a statewide coalition of law enforcement, murder victim family members, exonerees and community groups announced the launch of signature gathering for the SAFE California Act (the Savings, Accountability and Full Enforcement for California Act), a ballot initiative that will replace the death penalty with life in prison without possibility of parole. The SAFE California Act will save California taxpayers millions of dollars, protect the innocent from execution, and direct funds to local law enforcement to solve more rapes and murders.
Over the last thirty-three years, we have spent something on the order of $4 billion pursuing the death penalty, but executed only thirteen prisoners. That money could have gone to solving some of the 46% of murders or 56% of rapes that go unsolved. Or it could have gone into prevention efforts that actually lower the crime rate.
Now is the time to end the death penalty. We can help save our budget, our prisons, and make us all safer at the same time. This is the right answer for California.