Monthly Archives: January 2012

Californians to Have Say on Death Penalty

On a recent afternoon outside a San Francisco grocery store, paid campaign workers are on the hunt for voter signatures.

Among the dozens of ballot measures now gathering signatures in California — is one seeking to repeal the death penalty and replace it with life sentences without the possibility of parole.
It’s chief proponent is Jeanne Woodford.

“I’m arguing for ending the death penalty because it doesn’t serve us” says Woodford. “It’s not a public safety tool.”

You might say Woodford is an unlikely opponent of the death penalty. As warden of San Quentin Prison, she presided over four executions.

“I tell people at the end of every execution someone on my staff would ask ‘Did we make the world safer tonight?’ And we all knew the answer was no,” said Woodford.

Today, Woodford is director of Death Penalty Focus, a non-profit fighting capital punishment. Woodford thinks deliberately killing inmates is immoral. But her main arguments against it: The death penalty doesn’t deter crime, it costs too much and it doesn’t help victims’ families move beyond their horrible loss.
Continue reading