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Should prisoners convicted of the most violent crimes receive the death penalty? Tell us why or why not? Link to a convincing argument or related article online, perhaps.
For the first time in nearly 35 years, California voters will decide on the fate of the state's death penalty law. Proposition 34, on this November's ballot, proposes a full repeal of the law. If passed, the measure would convert the sentences of all current death row inmates to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Not surprisingly, Prop 34 is among the most emotionally-charged issues on this year's ballot, marking yet another chapter in California's ongoing, soul-searching debate on justice and punishment. Opponents of the death penalty (those in favor of Prop 34) contend that executing people is never justifiable, even criminals that have committed the most serious crimes. They also argue that the death penalty is incredibly inefficient and financially wasteful, due to the number of legal appeals, and the cost of keeping prisoners on death row for years on end. Repealing the death penalty would save the state an estimated $100 million a year, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office.
But supporters of the death penalty - those in opposition to Prop 34 - argue that criminals convicted of the most violent crimes deserve to be put to death. The death penalty deters future crime, many argue, and for the families and friends of victims, it is the only way that justice is truly served.