The California state election is coming, and this year there is a host of propositions up for Californians to decide.
One of the most controversial measures on the ballot is Proposition 34: “Death Penalty. Initiative Statute.” The measure proposes replacing capital punishment with life in prison without the possibility of parole.
There are two main parts to the proposition. The first proposes that the highest penalty for criminal acts—death—will be replaced with life imprisonment and work, but without parole. A portion of the money prisoners make working will be deducted, and those deductions will be used to pay for victim restitution costs, such as services for people or businesses that were hurt due to their crime. These restitution fees include medical bills, repair of damaged or stolen property and attorney bills.
The second part of the law says it will give $100 million to the law enforcement agencies of California to help solve homicide and rape cases.
This law would be applied retroactively to the 726 inmates currently on death row in California, making it so that there will be no more executions in California if it passes.
The death penalty has been legal in California since 1872. It has been calculated by Judge Arthur Alarcon that the death penalty has cost California over $4 bi llion since 1978, when it was reinstated after a brief period illegality from 1972-1977, when courts ruled that it was a cruel and unusual punishment.
There have only been 13 executions since then, with none since 2006 due to a court case questioning the safety and humanity of lethal injection, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. It is estimated by Alarcon’s study that the death penalty will save the state up to $130 million.
According to the DPIC, if this law is passed,Californiawill be the 18th state without the death penalty.
So far the campaign funding has been leaning greatly toward the side supporting the repeal of the death penalty, with almost $7 million raised, while the supporters of the death penalty—opposition to the proposition—have raised fewer than $500,000 as of Oct. 14, according to KCET, a California broadcasting station.
According to the Huffington Post, opponents to the proposition have gone from a 13 percent lead to only three.