The Savings, Accountability, and Full Enforcement for California Act

This is our time to abolish capital punishment in California via the ballot box. If we allow this killing machine to resuscitate, we can expect executions of the more than 725 death row prisoners at a rate that will send shock waves throughout Texas. Which side are we on? We cannot stand in the middle of the road this time. Abolish capital punishment in California, or support government-sponsored, premeditated murder of death row prisoners. We have more than 14 people with fully-exhausted appeals. The sole protection that stands between them and a pine box… is our vote!

We said, “I AM TROY DAVIS.” Many of us said that we were Stanley Tookie Williams. Cameron Todd Willingham was another innocent person on death row – the Texas criminal justice system executed him in our name. If we had abolished capital punishment nationwide, all three of these men would still be alive, able to prove their innocence to the world. No one enjoys a prison sentence of life without the possibility of parole (LWOP), but it definitely keeps Mumia Abu-Jamal speaking truth to power.

Before being abstracted debating how cruel LWOP is, let us complete the urgent business of abolishing capital punishment with our votes. Death penalty proponents have revived their rhetorical corporate media-fueled propaganda campaign. Californians, putative abolitionists and death penalty opponents: keeping death row intact when given the option to abolish capital punishment is nothing more than subterfuge ~ covertly supporting what we claim to loathe. Take out the fear and face the facts: most lengthy prison sentences end with the prisoner dying in prison. As it stands, prisoners convicted of murder (innocent or guilty) face capital punishment or LWOP. The SAFE California Act will convert all 725 death sentences to LWOP, making it the harshest punishment option for convicted murderers. The right to appeal convictions to the state and federal courts will still exist, with the same constitutional guarantees afforded LWOP prisoners; additionally, after all appellate issues are exhausted, the appellants will remain very much alive.

While many disagree with certain aspects of the SAFE California Act (i.e. $30 million per year, for three years, given to municipal police and prosecutors, coupled with florid, pro-prosecution language), if this road takes capital punishment off the table, we must travel it. The United States has executed more than 1290 prisoners since 1977. The future belongs to us, and step-by-step we will seize power. After winning this highly contentious battle, we will join resources to abolish all forms of permanent imprisonment. Every prisoner should have the right to be released if he or she is not a threat to society.

Since 1978, capital punishment has left California with a fatally-flawed system. Over $4 billion has been wasted, 13 executions have occurred, and 3 individuals have been exonerated. This is our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Let us choose the ballot box… or the pine box will choose us!

I look forward to your contact and communication.

Facebook: Donald Ray Young

Twitter: @DonaldRayYoung

Mail: Donald Ray Young

P.O. Box E-78474

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974