Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Yes on 34 with Sister Helen!

Nun-activist extraordinaire Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking) and death row exoneree Kirk Bloodworth (in not-so-subliminal DNA tie!) make the case for California's Yes on 34 campaign to end the death penalty in the video above. Prop. 34, the SAFE California Act, will replace California’s death penalty with a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole as the maximum punishment for murder. This means convicted killers will remain behind bars forever – with no risk of executing an innocent person. Why support Yes on Prop 34?

  • Savings: Many people think that the death penalty is cheaper than life without parole. That is just not true. The Legislative Analyst's official report on Prop. 34 says California taxpayers will save $130 million each year without releasing a single prisoner. 
  • Accountability: Convicted killers will be held accountable and pay for their crimes. Prop. 34 requires persons convicted of murder to work and pay restitution into a victim’s compensation fund. 
  • Full Enforcement: The SAFE California Fund* takes $30 million a year for three years in budget savings and puts it into the investigation of unsolved rape and murder cases. Our limited law enforcement dollars should be used to solve more crimes, to get more criminals off our streets, and to protect our families. 

Momentum is building to end the death penalty and find better ways to fight crime. Sister Helen also spoke recently to The Oregonian about the movement to abolish the death penalty (Oregon may be the next state to attempt a referendum):
Q: Since 2007, there have been five states that have abolished (the death penalty) and now California's voters will decide … Do you think that this wave of states abolishing capital punishment is going to continue … and where do you see it happening next?  
A: Yeah it is… There are a number of states. Kansas is close to doing it. California is actually close to doing it… You know Americans are practical. So let’s take this death penalty thing that’s supposed to deter violent crime. So let’s look at the states that are practicing the death penalty the most. And we see roughly states that do have the death penalty have double the homicide rate of states that don’t have the death penalty... Then another factor is the money. All states are under budget crunches. ... And so like California spends $185 million a year to keep their death penalty machinery in place. The average waiting time for an execution is 20 years. I bet you Oregon is close to that because you don’t actually practice it. So it’s almost like you’re holding this symbol in place, a political symbol. That’s basically what it boils down to because (for) politicians, it’s the easiest symbol in the world to say ‘I’m tough on crime.’ It ‘s got nothing to do with dealing with the roots of crime and violence.

Learn more and get involved with the SAFE campaign today!
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