Tough on Crime Rhetoric Fails at the Polls

Kamala Harris, Joyce Dudley, Steve Cooley, Jill Ravitch, Paul Zellerbach (clockwise from left)

Natasha Minsker: For years, presenting oneself as a hammer battering crime was a requirement. This time around, a hard-line stance alone without a plan for effective and budget-conscious enforcement is the new electoral kiss of death. Californians are weary of budget cuts to valued social services and cautious about wasteful spending on ineffective or lower priority criminal justice policies, like the $1 billion over the next five years that will be poured into death penalty spending.

As Death Penalty Cases Fade, L.A. County Pays to Buck the Trend

Natasha Minsker and Ramona Ripston: Los Angeles County, home to California’s largest trial court system, has been feeling the pain of those court closures in more significant measure than most. It recently laid off more than 300 staff and is moving forward with shutting down 12 courtrooms. But meanwhile, a parallel trend is stalking the county that’s exacerbating the budget crisis. Astoundingly, Los Angeles County has become the leading death penalty county in the United States. In fact, in 2009 more people were sentenced to death in Los Angeles County than in any other state, including Texas, the longtime leader in this grim statistic.

Stop Wasting Money on the Death Penalty!

Death Penalty

Natasha Minsker: let’s consider something the governor can actually do right now to make a serious dent in the corrections budget: convert all 700 death sentences in California to permanent imprisonment saving the state $1 billion over the next five years.

The People’s Budget Fix

death-row

The “Prison Population and Budget Reduction Package” proposed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is like a drunk person walking home from a bar – it knows where it wants to go but oftentimes you find it stumbling off the sidewalk or turning down the wrong street.

Save $1 Billion in Five Years—End the Death Penalty in California

prison

In the market for a prime piece of real estate? Governor Schwarzenegger has the deal for you! Facing a $21.3 Billion budget deficit in California, Schwarzenegger has offered to sell state-owned property to make up the difference. The crown jewel of the proposed fire sale is San Quentin State Prison, home to California’s death row [...]

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