Initiative would save taxpayers $150 million a year and restore certain justice by replacing California’s failed death penalty law with life in prison without parole
Broad coalition includes former death penalty supporters, victims’ families, law enforcement experts, and faith, civil rights and community leaders
SAN FRANCISCO – The California Secretary of State’s office announced today the Justice That Works Act qualified for the November 2016 General Election ballot.
The Justice That Works Act will replace California’s costly and failed death penalty system with life in prison without the possibility of parole. It provides certain justice and requires serious offenders to work and pay restitution to their victims’ families. The Justice That Works Act will save taxpayers $150 million a year according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.
The Justice That Works Act is supported by a broad coalition that includes former death penalty supporters, victims’ families, law enforcement experts, and faith, civil rights and community leaders.
“My family led the campaign that passed the death penalty initiative in 1978, but now I’m proud to be part of the effort to replace death row with life in prison without parole,” said former El Dorado County Supervisor Ron Briggs, the son of former state Senator John Briggs who sponsored the 1978 initiative. “California taxpayers have spent $5 billion to put thirteen people to death, at a cost of $384 million per execution. It doesn’t add up – our failed death penalty costs us 18 times as much as life in prison without parole.”
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.
“Because of all the problems with the death penalty, not a single person has been executed here in the last ten years. Nonetheless, Californians continue to pay for it in many ways,” said Justice That Works Act proponent Mike Farrell. “Whether you look at the death penalty from a taxpayer, a criminal justice or a civil rights perspective, what is clear is that it fails in every respect. We have to do better in California.”
The Justice That Works Act campaign will feature diverse perspectives, through television, digital and social media advertising, calling for California’s failed death penalty system to be replaced with life in prison without parole. The campaign will be led by an experienced team of professionals from Death Penalty Focus, Zimmerman & Markman, Tulchin Research, Jim Gonzalez & Associates, Mothership Strategies, and RALLY Campaigns.
To use complimentary wire service photographs from the Yes on Prop 62 campaign, please visit this link.