Both sides of the capital punishment debate actually see eye to
eye on one thing - the current system isn't working.
Steve Smith: "We haven't put somebody to death
in six years. It is simply a broken system that's wasted $4 billion
or $5 billion."
Anne Marie Schubert: "Yeah it's broken. But the
individuals that are behind this initiative don't want it fixed
because they don't want us to implement it."
That was Anne Marie Schubert with the No on 34 campaign…and
Steve Smith with the Yes on 34 campaign.
Prop 34 would repeal California's death penalty and replace it
with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Supporters of the proposition like Steve Smith say right now the
state is wasting money on special housing and taxpayer-financed
Steve Smith: "What happens now is, if
somebody's condemned to death row they generally die of old age.
They're single-celled in cells that are actually nicer. Anytime
they move around the prison they require more guards. And they have
endless amounts of appeals in court."
He says besides keeping inmates behind bars for the rest of
their lives, Prop 34 would also force those inmates to work and pay
Prop 34 opponent Anne Marie Schubert:
Anne Marie Schubert: "They say they're going
to make killers work in prison. They're not going to work. They're
the most dangerous people in the prison system."
She points out that current state law already requires
inmates, including murderers, to work; the exception is for inmates
who pose too great a security risk. She argues that Prop 34 will
cost taxpayers more by guaranteeing murderers lifetime housing and
Anne Marie Schubert: "We're talking about cop
killers, serial killers, baby killers, mass murderers. There are
crimes in California that are so horrific. It's important for the
victims, it's important for public safety, it's important for us as
a society to maintain this system."
California's San Quentin State Prison currently has more than
700 inmates on death row.