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California Proposition 34: death penalty repeal

San Quentin death row Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Both sides in California Proposition 34 primarily base their arguments in economic terms. Are executions less expensive to the State of California than life in prison? The state analyst says Prop 34 will save $100-130 million a year. Neither side frames it on moral grounds. This proposition may have far fewer undecideds than other simply because most voters have probably already made their mind up about the death penalty.

From my latest in a series on articles on the propositions on IVN

Should those convicted of murder in California continue to be executed or should they given life imprisonment without possibility of parole? Proponents of Prop 34 favor repealing the death penalty. Opponents favor keeping it. The California Proposition 34 death penalty repeal initiative is one of the most visible and controversial propositions on the ballot in November.

I wonder, to a hypothetical 25 year old entering prison with no parole knowing he will die there decades later, maybe the possibility of a fast, quick death doesn’t seem too bad. Also, our prison terms tend to be much longer than elsewhere. Some European countries and much of Latin America have abolished life sentences, and sentences for murder in those areas tend to be shorter than in the US.

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