California death row..has been inactive for more than 15 years
Is it possible California is leading the way for other death penalty states?
As of midnight, January 26, 2012, California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reported a total inmate population of 93,139, which does not include those on parole or currently being treated in a hospital or in temporary release to court. Of those prisoners, 694 are currently on death row. Since 1978, 13 death row inmates have been executed by the state. One hundred and thirty-eight died of natural causes or committed suicide.
Currently 23 states and the District of Colombia do not have the death penalty, and it would seem California has unofficially joined them. The death penalty has been relatively unused in the state of California for four and a half decades. The last state execution was in 2006, which is in spite of Prop 66, which passed in 2016 and upheld by the California Supreme Court in 2017, that limits legal challenges to death sentences to a maximum of 5 years.
This week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced he wants to turn San Quentin State Prison into a “positive, healing environment,” and will be “[dismantling] the United States’ largest death row by moving all condemned inmates to other prisons within two years.” The California Governor went on to say, “The prospect of your ending up on death row has more to do with your wealth and race than it does your guilt or innocence,” he said. “We talk about justice, we preach justice, but as a nation, we don’t practice it on death row.” In the two years he has been in office, the Governor has granted 72 pardons, 79 commutations and 20 reprieves.
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