How safe are we?

Examining the California SAFE Act

By: Michael Flinner

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty sent a questionnaire into over 200 prisoners in San Quentin seeking their thoughts about the SAFE Act. Below is one of the many responses we received. 

Savings Accountability and Full Enforcement for California Act (SAFE). It’s crazy how a bevy of someones can create something so deceitful, yet title it with a striking acronym. Any third-grader would see it as intentional.

The informed, however slight, might compose amusing plays upon words—preventing California’s unassuming residents from taking political lip service on faith by those building magnificent careers in local government.

As co-founders of, ours might say “Senseless And Foolish Excuses”, perhaps “Stop Advocating Foisted Explanations”.

SAFE is but a mask, concealing from view a myriad of fundamentally unmanageable issues stemming not from our breeding ground for suffering and injustice, but rather prudence. What was once an impregnable economic climate here in the golden state, now yields to colossal debt. Every conceivable opportunity for taxation burdens the promise for brighter tomorrows; tomorrows where education for our children comes first, affordable healthcare is made available, and we don’t frequent McDonald’s Dollar Menu. California has made “cuts” everywhere, adrift in waters some $16+ billion feet deep. No doubt, the diverse voting pool will learn priceless lessons from this window of opportunity.

California politicians are sticking Band-Aids on bullet wounds. In lieu of further subjugating condemned inmates, Lady Justice arrives and removes her blindfold. Profound efforts to confront injustice brought about by farsighted desperation will not suffice. Merely pacifying fiery voters ensures failure.

We (Spencer and I) have met incredible people who’ve shared their passions in life, religion, stories of tragedy, and what their loved ones mean to them—condemned men and women helping us further absorb the depth of this atrocity.

No matter how well-intentioned, privilege seems to blind ones’ capacity to explore options. The media paints us all with one brush which makes for significant battles when trying to remain connected to humanity. Imperiled by uncertainty as it relates to what might become of capital punishment in California, by design the SAFE ballot measure is slated to mitigate the pros not cons of life without parole among naïve voters unable to see the forest through the trees, those who instill their trust in community politics—these same folks who refuse to defy civic influence and greed.

Unbefitting the communities we live in, the death penalty is a study in contradiction—generally argued for by those who snub effective change. We need lifetimes of leadership and advocacy toward global harmony. When is enough, really enough?

In pursuit of truth and justice, many of us aim to bring campaigns for amnesty, clemency, pardons, and other forms of relief for the wrongfully-convicted. Infallibility does not exist in the justice system. A cursory peek at any number of related venues will evoke unexpected opinions.

SAFE’s ballot measure paralyzes potentially innocent prisoners’ meaningful access to what’s left of the court system. We (DRI) vehemently oppose SAFE.

Without attaching tremendous costs to taxpayers, there’s a distinction in defending the heartbeat of evolution. The cause and result are indeed alike, keeping us honest and accountable to humanity.

Climbing our way out of infancy during this emerging era of communication, we’re building alliances by representing today’s progressive-thinking prisoner, promoting social and political awareness and blossoming into the nexus between human rights and social media.

Inuring to the benefit of many, links from your homepage will help us fulfill our vision.

It’s About Time!

Michael Flinner and Spencer Brasure

Michael Flinner and Spencer Brasure are co-founders of, which is a an anti-death penalty website that features articles and artwork by prisoners.


You can write to Michael at: 

P.O. Box #V-30064 
San Quentin, CA 94964-0001

You can write to Spencer at:

P.O. Box #P-10000
San Quentin, CA 94964-0001


In November, the people of California will be voting on a ballot measure that could repeal the death penalty there. Since it won a place on the ballot, the SAFE Act has been a topic of discussion and important debate among criminal justice reform activists.

  The measure has the potential to take over 700 people off death row in one of the largest death penalty states - yet the "tough on crime" proposals at the heart of the SAFE Act are leading a growing number of activists to turn against it.

0ver the next several months the Campaign to End the Death Penalty will be providing a forum about this debate on our website through a new blog titled "Examining the Califonia SAFE Act."

This blog project aims to collect various news articles, editorials and especially prisoners writing about this initiative.  We would love folks to send our way any articles or writings that you think will add to this discussion.  Contact us at or