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Prop 34: Death Penalty Repeal

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, October 12, 2012

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 appeals.
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 restitution.
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 healthcare.  
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.
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