Tonight, Jeanne Woodword spoke. She has been a warden at San Quentin and now she is an advocate to end the death penalty. We have a chance to do that in CA in the November election by supporting prop. 34. The moral reasons are obvious, but she says that isn't enough to get this passed. We need to emphasize the money that will be saved, 130 million dollars a year. Someone said that isn't very much and she pointed out what that would do for crime enforcement and schools.
Currently LA can't even afford to fingerprint everyone. Many crimes go unsolved. Meanwhile the 725 prisoners on death row cost a fortune. They have private cells, lifetime defense, recreational access that requires special guards. They are expensive. Regular prisoners share a cell, and work. I knew they made our license plates. I didn't know they made the furniture for schools. They are given incentives. If they can't fit in and measure up, they are sent to harsher prisons than San Quentin. I wouldn't have thought that was possible, but she humanized the prison system in a way I wouldn't have imagined. She is a gentle woman with a lovely, sweet smile, and she is inspiring. She said no one who witnesses an execution can ever forget it. We cannot ask that of those who work in the prison system.
It costs a community a million dollars to sentence someone to death. That money comes from other programs. This proposition would give life without parole and save money. Who could be agsinst this you might ask? Well, district attorneys and sheriffs. It seems someone who has been sentenced to death has a full-time staff to defend them, and this staff has essentially a life-time job. It sounds though like people are coming around. Even some district attorneys and sheriffs are coming around.
The death penalty is immoral. One in ten who have been sentenced are later found to have been innocent, and it is racially biased, but again, the way to pass this is to emphasize the financial advantages. We can use this money more wisely. Also, it gives closure to the families of the victims. This way they know it is put to rest. The person is in prison without parole for life, and as she pointed out anyone who thinks being in prison is not punishment is nuts. Some criminals ask for the death penalty because they know they are better treated and it's highly unlikely they will ever be put to death.
If you live in CA, I suggest a yes vote on prop. 34 in November. It's good to have a proposition that is so clear.