Will California Taxpayers finally be “SAFE” from the Death Penalty?
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I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
March 1, 2012
Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Correctional Chaplain Florida's Death Row & Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella,Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed and for seventeen years a Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults.

Will California Taxpayers finally be “SAFE” from the Death Penalty?

The invisible death penalty industry described in my most recent book, Now I Walk on Death Row, is not unique to Florida.

Every state that has the death penalty also has a massive death penalty infrastructure that burns taxpayer dollars without objective accountability. In addition to providing politicians with meaningless sound-bytes as taxpayer financed fodder for re-election campaigns, this system keeps untold numbers of high-priced legal professionals, mostly on the state side, on the public dole. The high state salaries and expenses for death penalty trials—costs that have been documented as much as 20 times higher than a trial for life in prison without possibility of parole—have been almost immune to question. Any person seeking accountability for the wasteful government program called the death penalty is immediately condemned by the very beneficiaries of this massive government largesse—mostly politicians and state attorneys—for taking up with the bad guys and against the victims of crime.

After more than 35 years of such nonsense, America’s great death penalty experiment may finally have to answer for its dismal record of financial recklessness and abysmal failure to contribute to public safety.

Taxpayers for Public Safety, a California coalition including taxpayer activists, members of law enforcement, and members of families of murder victims, is collecting signatures to place a voter initiative on the ballot for Fall of 2012. The initiative is called “The Savings, Accountability, and Full Enforcement for California Act”, or “The SAFE California Act”, for short. This incredible and long-overdue initiative seeks to hold the invisible death penalty industry in California accountable to objective standards just like any other government sponsored bureaucracy. The findings and declarations of the SAFE California Act speak eloquently for themselves, and are in part as follows:

“The People of the State of California do hereby find and declare all of the following:

1. Murderers and rapists need to be stopped, brought to justice, and punished. Yet, on average, a shocking 46% of homicides and 56% of rapes go unsolved every year. Our limited law enforcement resources should be used to solve more crimes, to get more criminals off our streets, and to protect our families.
2. Police, Sheriffs, and District Attorneys now lack the funding they need to quickly process evidence in rape and murder cases, to use modern forensic science such as DNA testing, or even hire enough homicide and sex offense investigators. Law enforcement should have the resources needed for full enforcement of the law. By solving more rape and murder cases and bringing more criminals to justice, we keep our families and communities safer.
3. Many people think the death penalty is less expensive than life in prison without the possibility of parole, but that’s just not true. California has spent $4 billion on the death penalty since 1978 and death penalty trials are 20 times more expensive than trials seeking life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to a study by the former death penalty prosecutor and Judge, Arthur Alacron, and law professor Paula Mitchell. By replacing the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole, California taxpayers would save well over $100 million per year. That money could be used to improve crime prevention and prosecution.
4. Killers and rapists walk our streets free and threaten our safety, while we spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on a select few who are already behind bars forever on death row. These resources would be better spent on violence prevention and education, to keep our families safe.
5. By replacing the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole, we would save the state $1 billion in five years without releasing a single prisoner—$1 billion that could be invested in law enforcement to keep our communities safer, in our children’s schools, and in services for the elderly and disabled. Life in prison without the possibility of parole ensures that the worst criminals stay in prison forever and saves money.
8. Convicted murders must be held accountable and pay for their crimes. Today, less than 1% of inmates on death row work and, as a result, they pay little restitution to victims. Every person convicted of murder should be required to work in a high security prison and money earned should be used to help victims through the victim’s compensation fund, consistent with the victims’ rights guaranteed by Marsy’s Law.
9. California’s death penalty is an empty promise. Death penalty cases drag on for decades. A sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of parole provides faster resolution for grieving families and is a more certain punishment.
10. Retroactive application of this Act will end a costly and ineffective practice, free up law enforcement resources to increase the rate at which homicide and rape cases are solved, and achieve fairness, equality and uniformity in sentencing.”
The SAFE California ACT goes on to provide for a portion of such savings to be invested in funding for local law enforcement, specifically police departments, Sheriffs, and District Attorney Offices, to increase the rate at which homicide and rape cases are solved.

The current economic crisis is forcing all of us in death penalty states to ask the bottom line question: Can we still afford a death penalty that burns taxpayer dollars without accountability and without contributing in any meaningful way to public safety.

Wouldn’t an adopt-a-state-lawyer program for unemployed state death penalty lawyers be cheaper? Surely they could learn how to do something else.

©2012 Dale S. Recinella, Tallahassee, Florida U.S.A.
All rights reserved. No reuse or republication without permission.

Upcoming Events:

Now I Walk on Death Row - in Kentucky:
      Catholic Correctional Chaplain for Florida Death Row
      Catholic Volunteer for Ministry to Families of the Executed

Thursday, March 29th
Hillenmeyer Lecture Series
Sponsored by: Thomas More College

Evening of Thursday March 29, 2012
(7:00pm on campus)

Thomas More College
333 Thomas More Parkway
Crestview Hills, KY 41017

For Information, contact:
       Joy Nolan, Administrative Assistant
       Office of the Academic Dean   859-341-5800 or E-mail


Now I Walk on Death Row - in New Hampshire:
      Catholic Correctional Chaplain for Florida Death Row

May 1-4, 2012
Morning, afternoon and evening presentations throughout New Hampshire.
Details in the April 1 Ezine.

I Was In Prison
News & Updates
This ezine is targeted for people involved in prison ministry or in stopping the death penalty, we think you will find helpful information for people who are undecided about capital punishment, for those who have never experienced the inside of a jail or prison, and for those who feel called to participate through prayer and adoration.

Your name and information will never be used or shared with anyone. We promise!

Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed

If you Like this Monthly Ezine - You will love Dale's Book!
The Poor Clare Sisters
Paperback: 433 pages

Excellent book on the topic!,
June 13, 2005 Nathan Eanes
(Review from Amazon.com)

The Biblical Truth about America's Death Penalty is a must-read. It deals with Biblical standards of Capital Punishment and then compares them to the system used in America today. It is the best-researched, most faithful to scripture, and most evenhanded analysis I have ever read concerning the Death Penalty. Whatever your persuasion on the issue, this book will teach you a great deal. Recinella is a trained lawyer and committed Christian who now volunteers part-time on Florida's death row. He thus understands law, the Bible, and the system of execution in America. I challenge anyone who supports the Death Penalty to read this book.

This ezine edited by The Poor Clare Sisters of Spokane
to support the IWasInPrison Outreach