Speaking truth about crime

Examining the California SAFE Act

By: Kekoa Maibusan

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. 

My name is Kekoa Manibusan. At the unseasoned age of 19, I was charged with and ultimately convicted of multiple murders, sentenced to death at twenty-two, and afforded residence at San Quentin State Prison. Far from idle, for the past eleven years I have been trying to make sense of it all.

The discoveries have been alarming. Suppressing adverse tenets in my tortured soul, led to an explosion that resulted in blood, death, and sorrow. It is said that “all actions begin with an inner-process.”

Vehemently opposing the SAFE Act as well as capital punishment, the implied message seems clear—those in receipt of LWOP or death sentences are simply incorrigible. Both postures highlight the Prison Industry Complex’s intentional deceit, claiming that their sole purpose is to “rehabilitate.”

Allotting vast sums of money to law enforcement DOES NOT prevent crime! In most cases, these provocateurs masquerade as heroes “in the line of duty” to crimes which have already occurred. How does this prevent crime?

In my case, several innocent people were gunned-down; various law enforcement officials eventually emerged, began an investigation, and later captured me after an intensive manhunt.

Once prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and given the ultimate punishment, still no evidence exists to indicate that those who fell prey to my lunacy has ever curbed the homicide rate in Monterey County, California.

During the penalty phase of my capital trial, a forensic psychologist testified as to the nature of my upbringing and how it attributed to my poor life choices. An assortment of powerpoint slides and documented studies were put before the jury, depicting multiple categories, criteria, and reasoning—the genesis of a serial killer, each perspective more poignant than the next.

Unsatisfied with persuasive conjecture, however, I sought an unambiguous shortcut to clarity and inadvertently stumbled upon tools that teach one how to overcome negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Speechless, I had finally connected the pessimism which festered within my young mind, and led to unleashing irrational violence upon a community—misery loves company. Razing the darkness within, I no longer suffer.

Nearly $16 billion dollars in debt, subsidizing SAFE is speculative at best. Assuming California somehow manages to convince tax-payers that the reward outweighs the risk; many people believe that the “safe” bet is to spend whatever funds might otherwise be earmarked for this ridiculous ballot measure, on education—offering children the necessary tools to abolish insecurities, shame, guilt, self-condemnation, and inferiority complexes. Today’s educational platform only teaches kids how to be successful in the world, but fails to instruct them on how to master oneself.

With or without capital punishment, society as a whole remains inherently assailable.

Case in point: there are some 750 men here on Condemned Row. Elsewhere in this state with 33 prisons, there are several thousand prisoners with life sentences (of various degrees) for murder. If the death penalty, LWOP, and life sentences worked, why is it that California’s prison system (championed by none other than the aforementioned Prison Industrial Complex), it at an estimated 25% beyond their capacity? By design, the prison overcrowding issue proves my point.

As long as our nation maintains its fund-thirsty stance on crime, no one will ever be safe. Unless and until we weed out negative thinking within our hearts and minds, positive progress will remain a thing of the past.

Speaking in truth,

Kekoa Manibusan


Log onto www.deathrowinmate.org to learn more about Kekoa's views. You can write to him at: 

P.O. Box #T-06046
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, CA 94974

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 randi@nodeathpenalty.org or lily@nodeathpenalty.org