Imagine for a minute that all the public busses in California sat dormant in a parking lot, never to run again. Imagine that the public schools sent all the kids home for good. Imagine also that state’s hospitals shuttered their doors and turned the ill away. Now imagine that, despite a total shutdown of the transportation, education and health care systems, California taxpayers still paid millions every year to fund these non-functioning systems.
This idea may seem ludicrous – but it’s no different than the reality in California, where taxpayers spend millions every year to fund a death penalty system that hasn’t been put to its ultimate use since 2006, and only 13 times since 1967. In fact, most death row inmates in California die of old age, after decades of taxpayer-financed appeals.
Worse still, when the death penalty IS carried out, we risk executing an innocent person. Hundreds of innocent people have been wrongfully convicted of serious crimes in California, only to be exonerated later. Three of them were sentenced to death. Some people say an innocent person has never been executed in California. How do we know?
This election offers the opportunity replace the death penalty in California with justice that works for everyone. Prop 34 means California will never execute an innocent person. It also means the state will save $130 million per year – money which could be better spent on public safety, education, and social services. The initiative even establishes the SAFE California Fund, which would redirect $100 million of the savings to local law enforcement for the purpose of solving more rapes and murders.
It’s time to stop wasting money on a system that is broken beyond repair and that always will carry the risk of executing an innocent person. It’s time to replace the death penalty in California.