By Charles Riley, staff reporter
April 28, 2011: 06:17 PM EDT
California's San Quentin prison, famous for hosting both Johnny Cash concerts and the state's most dangerous inmates, won't be getting a new death row facility as planned.
Gov. Jerry Brown announced Thursday that he is canceling the long-planned construction of a new housing facility for condemned inmates.
The cancellation is Brown's latest push to close his state's staggering deficit. He has already frozen state hiring, cut official cell phone use and prohibited agencies from passing out freebie trinkets like hats and cups.
"At a time when children, the disabled and seniors face painful cuts to essential programs, the State of California cannot justify a massive expenditure of public dollars for the worst criminals in our state," Brown said in a statement. San Quentin is the home of California's only gas chamber, and the state's death row for male inmates is located at the prison. The new construction would have added another $356 million to the state's debt, Brown's office said.
"It would be unconscionable to earmark $356 million for a new and improved death row while making severe cuts to education and programs that serve the most vulnerable among us," Brown said.
In addition to the headline cost, the state would have been on the hook for $28.5 million in annual debt service that would have come out of California's general fund.
The prison's current death row holds 675 prisoners, but was only designed to accommodate 554, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website. Paul Verke, a spokesman for the department, said that $20 million has already been spent on planning the new 1,152 bed, 541,000 square foot facility.
With no new construction, the state will continue to use the prison's current death row, he said.
Last edited by Curt James; 04-28-2011 at 07:42 PM.
Some uniformity of punishment fitting the crime would be nice. Often hear about one person getting less time than another based on factors unrelated to the evidence. Look at O.J. for an example. Would any other man have been let off for those murders?
He was a celebrated athlete and had a Johnnie Cochran in his corner.
Anyway, the article mentioned Johnny Cash. Here he is performing for inmates at San Quentin.
Last edited by Curt James; 04-28-2011 at 07:45 PM.
Seems like it would have saved a few bucks to show them VHS videos of the gas chamber in action rather than a free Johnny Cash concert, courtesy of the tax payers. If conditions were bad enough that > 50% of the inmates didn't return within one year, the state probably could run the joint a on a tighter budget.
Wait a sec! Isn't it racist to offer a free country music concert and not a rap concert? Also, what about the hispanics? Where's the ACLU when you need'em?
the US is one of the few industrialized countries that has not outlawed it..it doesn't work as a deterrent, sure wish it did though...
I agree to this. I am not against the death penalty, but the dollar value behind it along with years of appeals by the time things get done about 15 yrs have gone by and I wonder if its worth it by then.