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Vote for Life

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Editor:

Thank you for the excellent explanation of Propositions 30 and 38. However I wonder if your readership understands the graver issues that Prop. 34 addresses? The Buddhist Peace Fellowship (Humboldt Chapter) strongly endorses Prop. 34 as a way to end the death penalty in California and probably reduce solitary confinement housing.

Currently in California there are 709 men and 19 women on Death Row. The maintenance of the death penalty consumes $1 billion every five years due to the cost of solitary confinement and extra access to the legal system, with trials and appeal processes that average 25 years. It costs $90,000 more per prisoner per year to house inmates on Death Row instead of with the rest of the prison population. Even legislation that proposes to speed up the processing of Death Row inmates would cost taxpayers $95 million, according to separate reports by Loyola Law school professor Paula Mitchell and the California Commission of the Fair Administration of Justice.

Apart from these overwhelming financial considerations there is the moral dilemma of society justifying revenge murders and "sanctioned torture" by endorsing the death penalty and long-term solitary confinement, respectively. A recent report by Amnesty International said the conditions in the SHU (Secure Housing Units) such as those in Pelican Bay and the similar AC (Adjustment Centers) such as those at San Quentin were "breaching international standards on humane treatment." Also, ending the death penalty would bring California in line with the vast majority of developed nations who have already ended this horrific practice and would set a precedent for the other 32 states that still allow it.

Please support ending the Death Penalty in California and vote yes on Prop. 34 on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Lynda McDevitt, Trinidad

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