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In a ‘Slap To The Face’ of Victims, California to Move 700 Death Row Inmates

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A “slap to the face” of victims, as described by a former district attorney, as California plans to move 700 death row inmates to eight other facilities within the state. The inmates will be housed with “non-condemned prisoners and have access to rehabilitation and work programs,” as reported by Fox News.

This move gives inmates at San Quentin State Prison’s all-male death row the option to transfer to other facilities and is part of a ballot initiative approved four years ago to speed up executions. According to Fox News, “The 2016 ballot measure was narrowly approved with 51 percent of the vote. It was intended to speed up executions by assigning more lawyers to death sentence appeals and shifting some appeals to trial court judges.”

However, transferring death row inmates was not what voters intended – as said by Former San Bernardino District Attorney Mike Ramos, co-chairman of the Proposition 66 committee that backed the measure. “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,” he said.

Though California hasn’t executed anyone since 2006, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed a suspension on it last year. “We cannot advance the death penalty in an effort to soften the blow of what happens to these victims,” Newsom said at the time. “If someone kills, we do not kill. We’re better than that.”

Criminal Justice Legal Foundation legal director Kent Scheidegger, who helped write the measure, said, “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. It was more to defuse one of the contrary arguments.”

The state has executed 13 prisoners since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. The inmates who decide to transfer prisons will have to undergo psychological, physical, and security evaluations to determine appropriate housing.

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