California: 2012 Ballot Initiative To Replace Death Penalty

In California, on average, 46% of murders and 56% of rapes go unsolved each year.  For victims and their families, and for the cause of public safety, these numbers are profoundly disturbing.

A new ballot initiative (changing the law in California often requires a direct public referendum) aims to do something about this, by redirecting funds wasted on the death penalty ($184 million per year according to a recent study), to local police and prosecutors to ensure that more crimes actually get solved. Since 1978, there have been 13 executions in California, at a cost of $308 million per execution.  In 2009 alone, the best year of the decade for solving murders, there were 722 unsolved homicides.

Bringing killers and rapists to justice is obviously very important for victims and their families, and is also clearly vital to public safety. And whatever deterrent value you might think the death penalty has (probably none), it is vastly overshadowed by the reality that, now, if you commit murder in California, you have an almost 50/50 chance of never getting caught at all.

The proposed initiative would also require those convicted of murder to work in prison and provide restitution to victims’ families.   And, importantly, it would end California’s shameful association with the notorious human rights abuse of capital punishment.

If this initiative gets on the ballot and voters approve it in November 2012, California will finally escape from the financial (and human rights) black hole that is the death penalty, and will be free to focus its resources more effectively on public safety and on the real needs of victims.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

2 thoughts on “California: 2012 Ballot Initiative To Replace Death Penalty

  1. The SAFE California Act is an fact an overdue update of
    California's laws to fit the wisdom of the great reformer
    Cesare Beccaria that it is the swiftness and certainty of
    punishment, not the severity, which deters crime, with the
    death penalty indeed ironic in its attempt to denounce
    homicide by itself officially perpetrating one!

    That was back in 1764, almost 250 years ago. In 1793,
    Justice William Bradford of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court
    (soon to become U.S. Attorney General) wrote that the death
    penalty might well go the same way as torture, widely
    accepted in the Europe of 50 years earlier but now (i.e. in
    1793) condemned.

    Today, qualifying the SAFE California Act for the ballot
    and then passing it into law is one chapter in the
    fulfillment of Beccaria's vision, and one stride forward in
    what Justice Bradford called the "progress of
    civilization."

  2. The SAFE California Act is an fact an overdue update of
    California’s laws to fit the wisdom of the great reformer
    Cesare Beccaria that it is the swiftness and certainty of
    punishment, not the severity, which deters crime, with the
    death penalty indeed ironic in its attempt to denounce
    homicide by itself officially perpetrating one!

    That was back in 1764, almost 250 years ago. In 1793,
    Justice William Bradford of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court
    (soon to become U.S. Attorney General) wrote that the death
    penalty might well go the same way as torture, widely
    accepted in the Europe of 50 years earlier but now (i.e. in
    1793) condemned.

    Today, qualifying the SAFE California Act for the ballot
    and then passing it into law is one chapter in the
    fulfillment of Beccaria’s vision, and one stride forward in
    what Justice Bradford called the “progress of
    civilization.”