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*Effective January 1st: Filing period for victims of violent crime to apply for financial assistance for crime-related expenses extended to 3 years. Read more here.

Murder victim family members speak out against the death penalty

Family members who have lost loved ones to murder speak out about why the death penalty is not justice that works for them. Watch their stories now.

Why do murder victim family members support ending the death penalty?
Ending the death penalty and replacing it with the swift and certain punishment of life in prison without possibility of parole is a smart way to save money that would be better spent elsewhere—on services victims really need and on programs that will actually improve public safety. The fact is that the death penalty costs hundreds of millions of dollars more than the alternative, life without parole. And only a handful of killers even receive death sentences. By replacing the death penalty with life without parole we can:

  • Use the money to get more killers off of our streets by solving the 46% of murders that go unsolved each year in California. Read more
  • Provide swift justice for victims without retraumatizing them through lengthy death penalty trials and appeals. Read more
  • Prevent cuts to the victims' fund, which helps victims pay for grief counseling, funeral expenses, medical costs, and other services.

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California Crime Victims for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (CCV) is a coalition of murder victim family members who support alternatives to the death penalty. After the horrifying loss of a loved one to homicide, they are left with a clear awareness that the death penalty fails to address the needs of victims on many counts. The coalition does not endorse any specific reason for opposing the death penalty, but supports all families in telling their stories and educates the public about alternatives to the death penalty. CCV can also direct families to available support and resources regardless of their views on the death penalty or whether the perpetrator has been apprehended.

Some examples of why loved ones of murder victims support alternatives to the death penalty include:

  • The death penalty process is a traumatizing experience for families, often requiring them to relive the pain and suffering of the death of their loved one for many years. Life without parole provides certain punishment without the endless reopening of wounds.

  • Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on the death penalty each year. If we replace the death penalty with life without parole, millions of dollars could be spent on violence-prevention efforts, solving unsolved cases, and increasing victim services.  

  • The death penalty places the focus on the legal consequences, not the human consequences. Attention is directed on the crime and the accused, instead of where it belongs — on the family and loved ones of the victim and on the community. Life without parole punishes the criminal without putting him or her in the headlines.

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