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The SAFE California Act, a historic voter initiative campaign to replace California’s expensive and dysfunctional death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole, has been officially certified for the November 2012 ballot. Replacing the death penalty will save California taxpayers $1 billion over the next five years and eliminate the risk of executing an innocent person.
SAFE California will also help to make all communities safer by ensuring that some of the budget savings go toward the “SAFE California Fund” for investigative technology and tools to solve open murder and rape cases. Inmates are also required to work and pay restitution into a victims’ compensation fund. SAFE California has been endorsed by prominent Democrats like Van Jones and Maxine Waters, along with local Democratic clubs across the state.
Here are some key facts about California’s death penalty…
- The death penalty is much more expensive that life without parole – Many voters think that the death penalty is less expensive than life without parole, but that’s just not true. California spends approximately $184 million more per year to administer the death penalty compared with a sentence of life without parole, while schools face crippling budget cuts. Since the death penalty was reenacted in 1978, our state has spent $4 billion on 13 executions.
- Grave mistakes are always possible – A total of 140 people have been released from death rows around the country after they were found to be innocent of the crimes for which they were sentenced to death. In California, three men were released last year after being wrongly imprisoned for murder. With the death penalty, we always risk grave mistakes.
- The death penalty hurts public safety – A shocking 46% of homicides and 56% of reported rapes go unsolved in California each year, on average. Our focus should be on finding murderers and on preventing crime before it happens.
- The death penalty is an empty promise to murder victims’ families – Most death row inmates die of old age, illness and suicide while our broken death penalty system traps families in decades of mandatory appeals, forcing them to repeatedly view reenactments and autopsy photos, and to relive the trauma of their loved ones’ murder. By replacing the death penalty with permanent imprisonment instead, family members get some measure of legal finality within months so they can move on with their healing.
Replacing California’s death penalty with life in prison with no chance of parole means convicted killers will remain behind bars forever–but with no risk of executing the innocent. SAFE California means:
SAVINGS: California taxpayers will save well over $100 million every year without releasing a single prisoner.
ACCOUNTABILITY: Convicted killers will be held accountable and pay for their crimes. SAFE California requires prisoners convicted of murder to work and pay restitution into a victim’s compensation fund.
FULL ENFORCEMENT: The SAFE CA Fund takes $100 million in budget savings and put them into the investigation of open cases of rape and murder.
Visit www.safecalifornia.org for more information or to get involved!