August 29, 2011 The SAFE California Campaign announced today a ballot initiative for the 2012 general election to replace California’s death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. The initiative would convert death penalty sentences to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. “The death penalty system in California is broken and there is growing support for this change including from law enforcement,” said Jeanne Woodford, former Warden of San Quentin State Prison who oversaw four executions during her tenure. “Over a hundred current and former law enforcement officials, prosecutors, judges and corrections officers have already signed in support of replacing the death penalty with an effective alternative.” More information on the campaign can be found at Gil Garcetti, former Los Angeles District Attorney, also attended in support of the initiative launch. “The death penalty in California is broken and unfixable. How many of our citizens know that 46% of all murders and 56% of all rapes in the average year in our state go unsolved? The SAFE California Act will prevent crimes. It will make our families safer than they are today.” The SAFE California Act takes $30 million of the dollars saved per year, for three years, and puts it into a special fund that will be used to solve more murder and rape cases. According to a June report by Federal Judge Arthur Alarcón and Professor Paula Mitchell, California has spent $4 billion on the death penalty since it was reinstated in 1978. Former prosecutor and the original author of the Briggs Initiative to reinstate the death penalty, Don Heller, also spoke at the press conference. ‘Thirty-three years ago I made a mistake. Now we have the opportunity to fix that mistake and improve public safety,” Heller added. A statewide poll on the initiative conducted by David Binder Research in July found that 54% of voters favored replacing the death penalty with life without the possibility of parole. The initiative was submitted to the Attorney General for title and summary late Friday.

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