Sunday, April 5, 2015

California death row runs out of room, only 13 executions in 37 years

More than 850 people have been sentenced to death in California since 1978 any only 13 have been executed. Now, with no executions in nearly a decade and newly condemned men arriving each month, the nation's largest death row has run out of room, reported the Los Angeles Times. 
Warning that there is little time to lose, Gov. Jerry Brown is asking the California Legislature for $3.2 million to open nearly 100 more cells for condemned men at San Quentin State Prison. The proposed 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 litigation. One case led to a halt to executions in 2006. Another resulted in a federal judge's ruling last July that the state's interminably slow capital appeals system is unconstitutionally cruel. Through it all, the death row population has grown from 646 in 2006 to 751 today. "Until the litigation is resolved, this cost­effective proposal allows [the state corrections department] to safely house condemned inmates going forward," corrections department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said last week. Legislators would have to approve the governor's funding request as part of the state's $113 ­billion budget. 
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