Lizzie Buchen: Keeping low-risk inmates behind bars does not enhance public safety; in fact, doing so may endanger the public, as excessive prison terms hamper reentry, damage families, and weaken communities.
Anthony Portantino: Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) has introduced legislation that shifts the prison reform debate from an early release and sentencing reform emphasis to stopping the revolving door at California’s prisons.
The Assembly cannot agree on what seems like common sense to the rest of us: people who commit low-level crimes like petty theft and simple drug possession should be punished on the local level, not in prison cells at a cost of nearly $50,000 per person per year.
If the Governor converts all death sentences to permanent imprisonment, he could then use that $1 billion check to actually make California safer by keeping more police on the streets and more crime labs open.
David Love: If the process by which the death penalty is applied amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, and the death penalty machine cannot provide equity, fairness or a modicum of due process, then the death penalty is no more legitimate than its extrajudicial cousin – lynching.