Can SAFE California Keep Blacks and Latinos Off Death Row?

Can SAFE California Keep Blacks and Latinos Off Death Row?


Politic365 spoke with Miriam Gerace of the SAFE California Act, an initiative that just qualified for the November ballot.  Its purpose replaces the death penalty with a sentence of life without parole.

This issue is of particular importance to Black and Latino communities because people of color are overrepresented on death row and most of those who end up being executed were convicted of murders involving White victims.

The SAFE California Act will set aside $100 million to investigate unsolved crime in California. Gerace explained: “46% of murders and 56% of rapes remain unsolved in California. These numbers are especially high in communities of color… With a budget savings, we can increase the likelihood of solving these crimes.” If crimes are solved and perpetrators are punished, there will also be more of a deterrent factor than continuing to devote exorbitant resources to a system that targets a smaller and select group of inmates.

Another issue that Gerace touches upon is the accountability and impact on victim’s families. With the average period of time between conviction and execution in California being about 25 years, family members of victims can feel that their nightmare never seems to end. The SAFE California Act will also require inmates to pay restitution into a victim’s compensation fund.

Listen to the podcast below:


  1. The SAFE California Initiative will indeed bring California closer to swift and equal justice for Blacks and Latinos accused of the most serious crimes as well as victims who will get swifter justice and better services. Additionally, replacing the death penalty with life without parole will bring California closer to the practice of Canada, Mexico, and South Africa along with many other African countries, all of which have likewise replaced the death penalty with better options, as well as Europe.