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11/10/2012 11:14:00 AM
Former Oregon prison official urged California abolition

Frank Thompson, former superintendent of the Oregon State Prison and the person in charge for the only two Oregon executions in the past 50 years, joined other corrections professionals from around the nation in urging voters in California to get rid of their death penalty.

But California’s Proposition 34 failed Nov. 6. It would have replaced the death penalty with life with no possibility of parole, directing savings to law enforcement to pursue unsolved murders and rapes. The legislation also would have created a fund for victim family benefits that former death row inmates would pay into with earnings from prison jobs.

“The death penalty is a failed public policy and brings no benefit to the citizens of California, Oregon or any other state that still has such a law,” said Thompson, a 25-year veteran of law enforcement and corrections. “I find it extremely immoral to have a public policy that asks good public employees to participate in state-sanctioning of taking human life, when there are reasonable alternatives”.

The other former wardens and superintendents are from California, Ohio, Florida, Georgia and Virginia.

Gov. John Kitzhaber has put Oregon's death penalty on hold.

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