SACRAMENTO, CA – Democrat California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that all death row inmates in the San Quentin State Prison will be transferred to other locations within two years.
Newsom said that the goal is to turn San Quentin State Prison into a "positive, healing environment," adding that he believes the system is "deeply flawed".https://t.co/BWbqcLP75q
— LawEnforcementToday (@LawEnforceToday) February 6, 2022
Governor Newsom has ordered the transfer of death row inmates from San Quentin to various prisons throughout the state.
He plans on transforming the death row area of the prison into something innovative that will help with rehabilitating the death row inmates.
Governor Newsom has said previously that he is against the death penalty and would like to see it abolished.
Because of his belief, he issued a moratorium on executions in the state in 2019, which, was not really necessary since the state has not followed through on executions since 2006.
The process of mainstreaming death row inmates began during a pilot program in 2020 and so far has seen a total of 116 condemned prisoners transferred. One of those violent criminals, Timothy Joseph McGhee, was sent from death row to the general population.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom will move all inmates housed at San Quentin State Prison’s death row—the largest in the country—to other general-population prisons. Read more: https://t.co/bgS5J5jQHc pic.twitter.com/JSsN18R05O
— Forbes (@Forbes) January 31, 2022
According to CityWatch, McGhee was suspected in the murder of as many as 20 different people and the attempted murder of two Los Angeles Police officers from the Northeast Division.
McGhee was convicted of three homicides and sentenced to death.
McGhee has also shown himself to be violent while on death row as he allegedly attempted to kill two Correctional Officers with a shank after his shower – and he participated in a riot.
Despite McGhee’s violence, authorities transferred him from death row and he is now in the general population of one of the prisons.
CityWatch spoke to two different newspapers regarding McGhee’s release from death row and placement in the general population. They wrote:
“One of the writers who wrote extensively on McGhee stated ‘he is just plain evil, it was a thrill for him when he killed people.’ One source stated that McGhee is now a validated Mexican Mafia Associate and continues to be a major shot caller and has a lot of control over the Toonerville gang.”
According to the California Department of Corrections, people like McGhee would not be sent into the general population.
They said that all death row inmates who are transferred into the general population of other prisons are “carefully screened” so that they can “determine” if they are capable of safely participating in the program.
Clearly, at least in McGhee’s case, this has not been done as he has shown a propensity of violence while he has been incarcerated. One has to wonder how many violent condemned prisoners like McGhee have been moved into the general population and injured and/or killed other inmates or jail guards as a result.
California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Vicky Waters denies that there have been any such interactions between death row inmates, officers, and the general population. She said:
“There have been no safety concerns, and no major disciplinary issues have occurred.”
Instead of prison cells, the death row inmate area will be transformed into areas that will serve as rehabilitation areas. Waters said:
“We are starting the process of closing death row to repurpose and transform that current housing units [cells] into something innovative and anchored in rehabilitation.”
While several people applaud this move, there are others like Nina Salarno Besselman, the president of Crime Victims United, who are angered with the move. Besselman notes the ballot measure in 2016 in which voters in California approved keeping the death penalty as an option. She said:
“This governor has been usurping the law for years with his moratorium, and in doing so pouring salt in the wounds of victims…It’s disgusting.”
California Gov. Newsom blames cargo thefts on gangs, then apologizes for calling them gangs
He wanted to assure the people of California that he was not implying that those thefts were gang-related. He said in a statement:
“This is not one-off. This is organized theft. These are organized gangs of people that are coming out. Forgive me for saying ‘gangs,’ that’s not a pejorative. They’re organized groups of folks that move from site to site.”
The governor announced a multi-agency effort to deter theft, hold perpetrators accountable and clean up the railroad tracks.
According to FOX 5 in Los Angeles, he stated that the thieves could be charged under organized crime laws, which would carry harsher penalties. He said in a statement:
“When there’s more attention, a bright light on one site, they move on to the next site. While these folks are arrested as if they’re individuals that are not connected to the whole and we need to change that.”
After the news conference, the governor was criticized for saying that the trash along the tracks created by the looting of the cargo bins made the area look like a “third world country.” He said:
“I’m asking myself, ‘what the hell is going on?’ It looked like a third world country, these images, the drone images that were on the nightly news.”
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