Friday, May 13, 2011

Former CA Corrections Director Does About Face on Death Penalty

Jeanne Woodford resigned as director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation four years ago, dismayed over state authorities' clinging to policies such as the death penalty that she had concluded are wasteful, discriminatory and fail to make the public safer, according to the Los Angeles Times.

California has rebuilt its execution chamber and is poised to begin carrying out executions after a five-year legal hiatus. However, Woodford has crossed to the other side of the contentious debate over capital punishment. The anti-death penalty group Death Penalty Focus recently announced Woodford's appointment as executive director. Woodford’s a new role will place her in direct opposition to any execution of the 713 inmates currently on California’s death row.

Woodford says she sees an opportunity to get rid of the death penalty in the current quest for budgetary restraint. If the public can be educated about the true costs of capital punishment — at least $200 million a year, she says — as well as it’s potential for irreversible error, support for the ultimate penalty would wither, Woodford predicts. It is that prospect that has lured her from a brief retirement to the post with Death Penalty Focus from which she will lobby against the policy she once imposed, reported the Times.

To read more:,0,5642988.story

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