California plans to move hundreds of death row inmates to other prisons

top line

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will move all inmates being held on death row at San Quentin state prison — the country’s largest — to other prisons for the general population as Newsom pushes to end the death penalty in the country’s largest state to let expire.

Important facts

Newsom, a staunch supporter of the abolition of the death penalty, noted a Moratorium executions three years ago and closed the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison, but hundreds of California inmates are still awaiting their death sentences.

Over the next two or more years, inmates living on San Quentin’s death row will be moved to accommodations normally used for prisoners serving life sentences without parole, said Vicky Waters, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Forbes On Monday.

Inmates previously held on death row could even share cells with other prisoners if deemed safe, although they can be placed in solitary or disciplinary confinement if officials deem it necessary, Waters told Die Associated Press.

Once death row inmates are relocated to general population areas, they will have greater access to employment opportunities, allowing them to pay their court-ordered compensation to their victims’ families, Waters says.

The state has already transferred 116 death row inmates to other high-security facilities as part of a two-year pilot program as of January 2020, which Waters says has resulted in “no safety concerns and no major disciplinary issues.”

Big number

694. This is the number of inmates currently awaiting the death penalty in California – most of the 28 states that still have the death penalty. This number includes the 116 inmates who have already been transferred from death row.

key background

Waters says the moves will allow the state corrections agency to assign placements on a case-by-case basis based on conduct and other needs, rather than just separating them based on their sentences. The change is possible due to Proposal 66, a measure approved by voters in 2016 that aimed to speed up executions but included a provision allowing inmates on death row to be housed in any state prison. California has not executed prisoners since 2006, but the state voted to retain the death penalty in 2012 and 2016 called for abolishing the death penalty, although the issue must be put to the electorate at a poll.

Crucial quote

“The intentional killing of another person is wrong, and as governor, I will not oversee the execution of anyone,” Newsom said two months into his term in 2019, when he signed the moratorium on executions.

What to look out for

The state hopes to repurpose death row housing units as “a positive, healing environment” and “something innovative and anchored in rehabilitation” by using $1.5 million from Newsom’s 2022-23 state budget proposal, Waters told the AP.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.