11/03/2012 03:58 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Yes on 34 Takes the Lead

Fantastic news:

California's respected Field Poll just released their latest survey, showing Prop 34, our state initiative to replace the death penalty, leading 45 percent to 38 percent -- a YES margin of 7 points!

Oh, how far we've come!

One year ago, I helped to launch the SAFE California Campaign -- now known as Prop 34 -- to replace California's broken death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. When we started, SAFE California was made up of a small but mighty group of law enforcement leaders, innocent men and women who had been wrongfully convicted and brave family members of murder victims who understood that the death penalty is a false promise.

Today, the Yes on 34 Campaign has grown into a statewide powerhouse with the support of some of the most respected organizations and leaders in the state -- everyone from Don Heller, who wrote California's death penalty law and now calls it a "huge mistake," and even FOX News personality Bill O'Reilly.

With ten points gained in the last month YES on 34 has taken the lead!

We're surging in the polls and although we have not reached 50 percent support (yet), we're gaining momentum, sharing the facts, and changing people's minds every day!

Over my 30-year career in the California Department of Corrections, I rose through the ranks from a corrections officer working in prisons to the warden of death row. I oversaw four executions and eventually was appointed director of California's entire prison system.

I know firsthand that the death penalty wastes money and does not make us any safer. For years, however, many people believed that the death penalty cost less than life in prison with absolutely no chance of parole. Now voters have learned that's simply not true and The Field Poll confirms it: a majority of Californians today understand that the death penalty is far more expensive than a sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole. California taxpayers will save $130 million each year by replacing the death penalty with life in prison without possibility of parole.

Voters have also had a chance to meet Franky Carrillo and learn his story. Franky spent 20 years -- his entire youth starting at 16 years old -- behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Franky is Prop 34's number one supporter and his story has hit the television and radio airwaves. Watch it here:

We've come such a very long way. It's hard to believe that in just a few short days, California could become the 18th state to replace the death penalty. This is epic. The implications will be felt far and wide, starting with the 33 states that have the death penalty on their books.

Put simply, when we pass Proposition 34 next week and replace the death penalty with life in prison with no possibility of parole, we'll make history and come closer to justice that works for everyone -- nationwide.

To learn more about Prop 34, please visit: