August 1, 2012
Initiative to end the Death Penalty in California
Just an update here. The “Savings, Accountability, and Full Enforcement for California” initiative or SAFE California has been assigned a number for this November’s ballot. From now on it is known as Proposition 34.
Proposition 34 would alter all capital sentences from death to life in prison without parole. The death penalty process is much more expensive than incarceration – some estimates place the annual savings to California taxpayers at around $100 million. What is more important for us is that Proposition 34 is consistent with Catholic values of the dignity of every human life.
This initiative has strong support from the Catholic bishops of California. A statement of support from the California bishops can be found both in English
. More information can be found at the Catholic Mobilizing Network to end the use of the Death Penalty
AB109 and Realignment
There continues to be a lot of news about the changes in California prisons and jails as a result of Assembly Bill 109 (AB109) or Realignment. In short, to comply with a federal court mandate to reduce state prison populations, AB109 directs that:
Those convicted of non-serious crimes with sentences of three years or less will serve their time in a local jail, not in state prison;
Parole will be simplified, with non-serious offenders being handled by local probation departments;
Additional resources will be given to counties to support housing more inmates, and enlarging programs that keep people out of jail.
There has been mixed news about realignment, for example (from The Fresno Bee):
This process is a long way from being over.
International Restorative Justice Month
This is our chance each year to again promote healing over retribution. Seeking restorative justice means seeking to meet the needs of all affected by crime, survivors, family, offenders, and the whole community. This includes the need for offenders to be accountable for their actions
– something essential for their own healing. There will be more information on this in coming months.
Detention Ministry Coordinator