Newsom Moving to Permanently Close Death Row

Death Row

Gov. Gavin Newsom is moving to dismantle California’s death row, the largest in the country, and transfer all condemned inmates to other prisons within two years.

“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,” Newsom said at a press conference Monday. “We talk about justice, we preach justice, but as a nation, we don’t practice it on death row.”

In January 2020, the Department of Corrections implemented the Condemned Inmate Transfer Pilot Program, a result of Proposition 66 that voters passed in November 2016. The program allows death row inmates to transfer to other prisons to work to pay restitution to their victims’ families. At last report, 116 of the state’s 673 condemned male inmates had moved to one of seven other prisons that have maximum security facilities.

California last carried out an execution in 2006 and is one of 28 states that maintain the practice.  

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