Why We Can’t ‘Fix’ The Death Penalty

On November 8, the death penalty in California will either be banned or it will be ‘fixed.’

Two Propositions, Prop. 62 and Prop. 66, address California’s broken and costly death penalty system, but only one can win. The propositions require a simple majority to pass, and if both receive more than 50 percent of the vote, the one with the higher percentage will become law.

Each presents radically different solutions. Prop. 62, “Death Penalty. Initiative Statute,” abolishes the death penalty in California, while Prop. 66, the “Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016,” keeps the death penalty and promises to fix it. Here are some of the key points. 

Proposition 62:

*  Repeals the death penalty and replaces it with life in prison without the possibility of parole as the maximum punishment for murder.

*  Applies to all prisoners on death row at the time the measure is enacted.

*  Makes it mandatory for all prisoners sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole to work and pay restitution to victims’ families. The portion of wages to be provided as restitution is increased to 60 percent.

*  States that any provision in the Proposition found to be invalid will not affect other provisions of the measure.

Proposition 66:

*  Keeps the death penalty in place.

*  Changes death penalty procedures by 1) Putting trial courts in charge of initial petitions that challenge death penalty convictions, in order to speed up the process; 2) Creating a time frame for death penalty review; 3) Requiring appointed attorneys to work on death penalty cases.

* Requires all effects to take place once the Proposition is enacted, and authorizes death row inmate transfers between California prisons.

* Makes it mandatory for all prisoners on death row to work while in prison and pay restitution to victims’ families. The portion of wages to be provided as restitution is increased to 70 percent.

*  Ensures that other death penalty measures approved will be void if more ‘Yes’ votes are given for Proposition 66.

Why We Can’t ‘Fix The Death Penalty

The death penalty is wrong. No human being or government has the right to take another person’s life. That’s why 20 U.S. states have abolished the death penalty, and 140 countries worldwide, more than two-thirds, are abolitionist in practice or law. 

In the U.S., support for capital punishment is the lowest it’s been for more than 40 years. A recent Pew Research Poll found that only about half of Americans (49%) now favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder, while 42% oppose it. Support has dropped 7 percentage points since March 2015, from 56%.

That’s because so many people are realizing that not only is the death penalty morally wrong, it is also expensive and racist, it doesn’t deter crime, and it is applied arbitrarily.

Why Im Voting Yes on Prop. 62

By replacing the death penalty with a strict sentence of life in prison, Proposition 62, also known as the “Justice That Works Act,” saves taxpayers $150 million annually, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.  

It also eliminates the possibility of executing an innocent person. Prop. 62 is the only real solution to an expensive, ineffective and unjust death penalty system. Ron Briggs, who led the campaign to bring back the death penalty to California in 1978, explains here that since that time Californian taxpayers have spent $5 billion to put 13 people to death, while 747 prisoners remain on death row in San Quentin prison and the Central California Women’s Facility.

As the “YES on 62″ campaign notes, Proposition 62 provides a “real solution,” while Proposition 66 provides a “real mess.”



Photo Credit: Zaldylmg


Jennifer H.
Jennifer H1 years ago

The death penalty is a tough issue and I agree with many opinions. In reality, I don't think Cal has had the death penalty because of the unlimited number of appeals that are allowed which would also allow for any chance of a non-guilty person to prove innocence. The costs of housing someone for decades I would think exceeds the costs of death penalty. In the cases mentioned by Karen, I agree. Moral issues are hard to see long term repercussions to those involved. It will be interesting to see how this one turns out.

Janis K.
Janis K1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Karen Swenson
Karen Swenson1 years ago

@Marc P and David Youmans---You make some excellent points and I agree with some of what each of you have said. For instance, I do not believe Rapists should get the death penalty. I agree our justice system is broken and needs a complete overhaul. I, however, would like to see the death penalty kept open for use only for the most egregious of crimes. Crimes where there is no doubt of guilt. People like Charles Manson, Richard Speck, Ted Bundy, etc. Their guilt was undeniable and they admitted it. . As far as Benjamin Franklin's Quote, there is an apparent questioning of the principle, with the tale of a Chinese Professor who responds, "Better for Whom?"

Donna T.
Donna T1 years ago

thank you

Joanne p.
Joanne p1 years ago


Joanne p.
Joanne p1 years ago


Marija Mohoric
Marija M1 years ago


Justyna L.
Justyna L1 years ago


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

David Youmans
David Youmans1 years ago

Karen, I'm speaking of people who take lives on a regular basis such as soldiers, such as was seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. in many cases, it gets easier each time they kill, until life simply has no value to them. This also can happen with executioners, judges who routinely sentence people to death, prosecutors who continuously seek the death penalty, and cops who are quick to use the gun, rather than other methods.

In the case of many of these, they completely lose touch with the value of human life. The lives of others cease to mean anything to them, which is certainly a bad thing for humanity in general. Sadly, it's a trend I've seen over the last several decades of my life, with society in general. It's as though we're losing our humanity, and that very much needs to change...