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Death Row Inmates Running Out Of Patience

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California’s San Quentin’s death row is running out of room.

More than 750 convicts are awaiting execution at Americas largest death row.

The three-drug lethal injection system was invalidated by a court a decade ago.
No new death protocol has replaced it.
Plans are in place to open new wings and employ guards and staff, while the state waits to see how to proceed with the legally sensitive issue.
A federal judge has already condemned the slow death row system as ‘unconstitutionally cruel’.
The governor of California has proposed new wings for the prison complex in his budget. They will house new inmates for the coming decade if necessary.

The Independent reports: Governor of California Jerry Brown is asking the Legislature for $3.2 million to open nearly 100 more cells at San Quentin State Prison.

Warning that there is little time to lose, the request is included in Mr Brown’s $113 billion budget proposal.

The expansion would take advantage of cells made available as the state releases low-level drug offenders and thieves under a new law voters approved last year.

California’s death penalty has been the subject of a decade of legal upheaval with one case even leading to a halt in executions in 2006.

Another resulted in a federal judge’s ruling last July that the state’s slow death row system is ‘unconstitutionally cruel’.

As a KCRW radio blog reports, the legal fight of capital punishment has meant the state has not put an inmate to death in nearly ten years.

The blog reports: “The governor says prison officials should use cells that are opening up as lower level inmates are released under a new law passed by state voters last year.

“The majority of the money would go to increase staff, since condemned inmates require more security.

“The capital punishment system has been in limbo since a court invalidated the state’s three-drug lethal injection system nearly a decade ago.

“No new protocols have been developed.”

Edmondo Burr

BA Economics/Statistics
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BA Economics/Statistics CEO Assistant Editor