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At the Tipping Point...

Natasha Minsker,
Director,
ACLU of California Center for Advocacy & Policy
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March 21, 2007

This really shows that we have reached the tipping point on the death penalty in America, and it’s not just in the state capitols. Last year, for the first time in 30 years, more people preferred the sentence of life without parole than the death penalty. The difference was only 1 percent, but that makes it the critical difference.

The majority of Americans now understand that the death penalty has failed, while life without parole has succeeded. Here in California, not one person sentenced to life without parole has been released except those who were later found to be innocent. Life without parole has delivered on its promise: it keeps dangerous people off the streets, allows family members of victims to move on with their lives, and lets us correct mistakes when they happen.

The death penalty, on the other hand, has failed us. And at what price? Quite a high one: California, for example, has spent $3 billion on the death penalty in the last 30 years. What if that money were spent on education? We’d not only have better schools, we almost certainly have fewer murders and fewer victims.

We are only one vote away from tipping the scales of justice for good.

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