California’s Death Penalty

This is what the death penalty room looks like.

This is what the death penalty room looks like.

Isabella Terzoli, Senior Writer

In the year 2010, an inmate sentenced to death row had to wait for 15 years between sentencing and execution. Normally inmates awaiting death row die of natural causes before ever even seeing the execution chamber. California in 2010 (along with other states) housed more than half of the inmates on death row.

Our California Governor, Gavin Newsom, has stopped the death penalty. He ordered for the death penalty to be suspended for as long as Newsom is governor. Newsom also declared the execution chamber at San Quentin State prison is under immediate closure.

This being said it, doesn’t mean that those inmates put on death row will be released or that it will not change any existing convictions.

When asking a handful of Dana middle school students, the responses were both negative and positive. 7th Grader Cash Valdes says “Sometimes people deserve it but some people should just serve their sentences,” while 7th grader William Sanchez says “I think they shouldn’t have it because they are killing people that aren’t getting a second chance.”

When asking the students, “Do you think some serious crimes should come with the consequence of the death penalty?” the chart shows mixed opinions.

In a written statement Newson wrote, “Our death penalty system has been — by any measure — a failure… the death penalty is absolute, irreversible and irreparable in the event of a human error”.

The governor’s executive order has argued that capital punishment is unfair and targeted more to people of color or people who have mental disabilities. The public opinion on capital punishment (legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime) has had a very dramatic change through the past couple of decades. People have preferred the life option as opposed to the possibility to the death penalty. However, in the years of 2012 and 2016, the voters of California rejected the removal of the death penalty.

Considering not one inmate has been executed in the last ten years and only 13 prisoners were killed in a 40-year time span, why is the death penalty still an option? What are your thoughts on the California Death Penalty?