SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The death penalty will come into sharper focus this November in California when voters head to the polls to cast their ballots on a measure that would abolish the practice in the state.

Jeanne Woodford is the Executive Director of Death Penalty Focus and a former warden at San Quentin State Prison. She is also one of the main proponents of The SAFE California Act, which would repeal the death penalty as the maximum punishment for persons found guilty of murder and replaces it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

KCBS Interviews Jeanne Woodford:

“I have seen the death penalty from all points of view. I understand the cost of incarceration for people on death row, which is far more expensive than if they had life without possibility of parole,” said Woodford. “Our initiative seeks to utilize our criminal justice dollars in a much more effective way and it sets aside $100 million over three years for the particular purpose of solving unsolved murders and rapes.”

Woodford said that a pair of major studies looked at the cost of the death penalty and concluded that the state has spent over $4 billion on the death penalty since 1978 and California has executed 13 people during that time.

There has not been an execution in over six years in the state as the issue remains in the courts. Woodford said that the main issue is over legal injection and the execution process and a decision is not expected until 2013.

Supporters of The SAFE California Act submitted over 800,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

You can hear KCBS In Depth, a weekly half-hour news interview, Saturdays at 5:30a.m. and Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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