Monday, December 7, 2009

The Dysfuntion of California's Death Row

Do you think prison is hard for those on Death Row? If you answered "yes," than you are not thinking of inmates in California.

Prisoners sentenced to death in California have arguably luxurious suites. Compared to other inmates, those on Death Row get larger cells, more telephone privileges, better "contact-visitor" arrangements, and "more personal-property privileges than ordinary inmates." In fact, the average person sentenced to death costs three times the average prisoner.

Add to this the fact that California is comparatively slow in putting people to death, and you have a real situation on your hands. The problem is so well known, in fact, that convicted murderers are actually asking to be sentenced to death.

From the Boston Globe:

LOS ANGELES - White supremacist gang hitman Billy Joe Johnson got what he asked for from the Orange County jury that convicted him of first-degree murder in October: a death sentence.

It wasn’t remorse for his crimes or a desire for atonement that drove him to ask for execution, rather the expectation that conditions on death row are more comfortable than in other prisons and that any date with the executioner is decades away.

Although executions are carried out with comparative speed in some states, capital punishment in California has become so bogged down by legal challenges as to become a nearly empty threat, say experts on both sides of the issue.


Cross-linked at Wizbang

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