California Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom will dismantle the largest death row in America, ordering condemned inmates to be moved to regular prisons in two years.
California moves to give condemned prisoners leeway
Newsom, who signed a moratorium on executions three years ago, said on Monday he wants to turn prisons into a “healing environment,” claiming the current “deeply flawed” system of prisons boils his blood.
While quoting his racial narrative, the governor asserted the wealth and race of a person decides whether or not she or he gets placed on death row. Newsom believes it has nothing to do with the crimes committed by these individuals.
California executed its last inmate in 2006; it is one of the 28 states with an active death row, the Death Penalty Information suggested.
Although some other states have completely abolished execution, California is stepping forward to merge its condemned inmates with regular prisoners; this can delay their executions for an indefinite period of time.
California moves forward on plans to shut down death row https://t.co/go2lG8BeUO
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) February 1, 2022
The spokeswoman of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation noted the state is looking forward to transforming existing prisons into innovative rehabilitation facilities.
About two years ago, Oregon did the same thing. It moved its condemned prisoners to normal prisons, albeit their number was small, compared to California.
California wants to mainstream murderers
Michael Rushford, the president of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which backed Newsom’s initiative, claimed the primary motive is to mainstream most of the condemned murders.
However, victims of this measure are not so happy, as they still continue to mourn the killings of their loved ones. In 2016, Californians voted against the death penalty under California Proposition 62; this paved the way for the blue state to abolish capital punishment.
According to the President of Crime Victims United of California, Nina Salami, Newsom is playing with the law and adding insult to the injury of the victims.
However, actors like Mike Farrel spoke in favor of murderers, noting although he is happy with the decision, he is afraid other prisoners will easily be able to target the newly shifted inmates.
Thus, he noted that moving prisoners who have lived for years in a very specific type of environment to another facility, without considering their needs and safety, is an erroneous approach.
In January 2020, corrections officials started a pilot project. They moved 116 out of 673 condemned prisoners of the state within two years. These inmates were moved to jails having maximum security and surrounded by lethal electric fences.
In the last two years, 116 Death Row inmates have agreed to be transferred from San Quentin, and eight from the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, to other prisons where they have access to vocational training and work-related programs. https://t.co/aBAfwVaBLE
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) January 31, 2022
Now, the department is ready to submit proposals under which moving condemned murders to regular jailing facilities would become mandatory.
The ballot measure, which was approved in 2016, also forced condemned prisoners to participate in prison labor programs. 70 percent of its money goes towards the restitution of the victims. Almost $49,000 was funded to these victims by the end of 2021.