CA to move 700 inmates off death row and into work or rehab programs


California is set to move 700 condemned inmates on death row over to a rehabilitation and work program. This will include all male inmates from the San Quentin State Prison and the former district attorney is calling this a "slap to the face" of the victims and families affected by the crimes committed.

This will be a voluntary transfer from death row to another high-security prison that is said to benefit the inmates with more freedom, new scenery, and the possibility that they could join and participate in work and rehabilitation programs.

This isn't a new initiative. It actually passed back in 2016 with 51% of the vote. It was supposed to be a means of faster executions, but since no one has been executed since 2006, that doesn't exactly seem to have panned out.


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Marin IJ reports:

That may sound like another in a series of steps California lawmakers and voters have taken in recent years to reduce criminal penalties. But it actually was part of a ballot initiative voters narrowly approved four years ago to try to speed up executions.

Despite California having zero executions of anyone on death row since 2006, many voters still support it because the possibility of landing on death row can be used to deter criminals. However, California also reduced the level of many crimes from being a felony to a misdemeanor and provided the opportunity for early parole for many inmates.


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Mike Ramos, the former San Bernardino District Attorney, is not happy with the decision.

Victims’ families “suffer every day,” Ramos said. “Now to say that this murderer is going to be allowed to go to a rehabilitation program and be treated like any other low-grade inmate is a slap to the face.”

A legal director chimed in and said this proposition wasn't intended to "coddle" the inmates, despite the fact that's exactly how it looks to many people in the public. His name is Kent Scheidegger and he actually helped write Proposition 66.

“One of the arguments made against the death penalty was it cost too much to house them at San Quentin, which is an antique facility. Our response was, well, they don’t need to be housed there,” Scheidegger said. “It was more to defuse one of the contrary arguments.”

There’s not much point in trying to rehabilitate condemned inmates, he said: “Unless they get pardoned, they’re not going to be seeing the outside of the prison walls anyway.”

At this point, many residents in California might be asking why the inmates are being moved at all.

How will the cost to house an inmate be any more or less at one facility or another?

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