The death row at San Quenting Prison in California will be abolished. Instead, the inmates on death row will be transferred to other prisons in the state on the west coast of the United States. Governor Gavin Newsom, a staunch opponent of the death penalty, announced this on Monday.
The transfer process is already underway, Newsom said. There are currently just under 700 death row inmates in California.
San Quentin, north of San Francisco, is the only prison in the state to have an execution chamber. Thirteen people have been executed in California since the death penalty was reinstated in 1978. The executions have been temporarily suspended since 2006 after a federal judge ruled that lethal injections may be unconstitutional.
In March 2019, Newsom abolished the death penalty in his state. Executions are immoral, he said Monday. He also wants to push for reforms in other parts of the US.
In a 2016 referendum, most California voters voted against the abolition of the death penalty. However, due to the 2019 moratorium, the sentence is currently not being carried out. Instead, the death row inmates will be transferred to institutions with work programs. They are expected to contribute to the compensation of relatives of their victims.
California has the highest number of death row inmates of all US states, followed by Florida and Texas. 23 out of 50 US states have abolished the death penalty, according to the US Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC).