Justice That Works Act only real solution to a failed death penalty in California
LOS ANGELES – The Justice That Works campaign released the following statement from former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti:
Every attempt to “fix” the death penalty system over the past 40 years has made it worse and more expensive. The current effort to double-down on a failed death penalty is no different.
This flawed and deceptive initiative builds death rows around the state, adds new rounds of appeal, hands cases over to inexperienced attorneys, and jams up an already over-stretched justice system. That an intended “fix” is so complicated, confusing, and costly, proves just how fundamentally unworkable the death penalty system is.
When I was the District Attorney, I supported the death penalty. But I’ve reversed my position because I believe it’s a total waste of money. It’s of no useful purpose, it’s not a deterrent, and you can better spend that money addressing bigger issues rather than housing people on death row in California.
The Justice That Works Act is the only real solution to a failed death penalty system. It replaces death row with life in prison without parole, requires serious offenders to work and pay restitution to victims’ families, and saves taxpayers $150 million annually.
California death penalty facts
Currently, the death penalty costs 18 times as much to administer as life in prison without parole. California taxpayers have spent $5 billion since 1978 to put 13 people to death, at a cost of $384 million per execution.
In addition to being costly, the death penalty has proven to be ineffective justice. It drags out the legal process for decades, denying closure to many victims’ families. Due to its arbitrary application and other factors, the death penalty does not achieve any of its supposed crime deterring benefits according to a 2012 National Academy of Sciences study. The death penalty system has also come under criticism for racial and economic bias.
Despite lengthy appeals guaranteed by constitutional due process rights, the risk of executing an innocent person is unavoidable. It is conservatively estimated four percent of all death row inmates were wrongfully convicted and are actually innocent.
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