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May 3, 2013

"What I Saw at San Quentin"

The title of this post is the title of this interesting new post at Crime & Consequences by Michael Rushford, President of Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.  The post describes at great length a recent tour of what was California's first prison.  Here are excerpts from the start and end of a fascinating read:

While I have been through some other state prisons, San Quentin was different. It was opened in 1852 as the state's first prison.  It was located on a 432 acre point facing the San Francisco Bay because, at the time, the city was overrun with crime.  Although it's obvious that the prison has been expanded over the years, walking through the main gate into the actual prison compound is like stepping back in time.  The gate itself is original and large enough to accommodate a stagecoach. Inside the compound is a grassy quad flanked by the gate wall, a cell block, a hospital and a building housing several small churches.  In addition to death row, which is isolated from the rest of the prison, roughly 4,500 inmates are housed inside the main prison.

The cell block we saw was identical to those portrayed in the movies: long rows of 5 x 9 foot cells, each with sliding bar doors, a metal toilet, sink, and two bunks, stacked five stories high.  Inmates who are able to get along with their colleagues share cells in the largest cell block.  There is a fairly large building called the adjustment center for inmates, including about 200 condemned murderers who are either too violent or too vulnerable to mix with other inmates.  Richard Allan Davis, for example, lives in the adjustment center because the other inmates hate child killers....

Anyone who believes that murderers in California are living comfortably on death row should take this tour.  It is a miserable existence.  I now understand why we receive letters from death row inmates asking for our help in expediting their executions. Legislators, bleeding hearts and judges who think that they are helping these murderers by preventing executions are hopelessly naive.  Those who think we should improve their living conditions are missing a critical point: these murderers have been sentenced to death for murdering innocent people.  Keeping them alive any longer than necessary to confirm their guilt is an injustice.

Finally, San Quentin is a very old, dilapidated facility sitting on 442 acres of the most valuable real estate in California.  It should be torn down and the property sold off.  Some fraction of the profit should be used to built a modern prison in a less expensive part of California.

May 3, 2013 at 09:05 PM | Permalink


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"It should be torn down and the property sold off."

Why of course it should, to the highest bidder. (snort)

I do not have any opinion on the merit or demerit of closing the prison. But that location should not go to house Will.i.am's next mansion. It should reserved for the people of CA, not as a back down effort to once again lower property taxes in Orange county.

Posted by: Daniel | May 3, 2013 10:04:21 PM

It sounds like the folks at Crime & Consequences would like to see hangings or firing squads behind the courthouse promptly after death verdicts.

A couple problems with this position: We've had an unacceptable number of innocence-based death-row exonerations. A significant percentage of the condemned are mentally retarded / intellectually disabled; their executions are prohibited by Atkins.

Posted by: Jason Arthur | May 4, 2013 3:36:44 AM

Jason: Your error rate argument is a problem. We have 30,000 deaths of innocent people from car crashes, including 1000 pedestrians. Stop all transportation, including walking, until that error rate has been addressed. Silly? Error is a reason to improve methods, but not to stop a necessary and beneficial human activity. A play has flopped. Close Broadway until the error rate in theater has been solved. Name any other human activity, the same argument applies.

All current dumbass lawyer mitigating factors are really aggravating factors here on earth, as opposed to in the dumbass lawyer Twilight Zone we are forced to live in, at the point of a gun. The point of a gun is the sole validation of the decisions of the dumbass lawyer run Supreme Court. No Supreme Court has ever had external valid scientific validation. They are just the biased feelings of rent seeking lawyers. I have proposed that anyone who has passed 1L and been turned into a dumbass be excluded from all benches, especially that of the Supreme Court.

So MR, youth, childhood abuse, and mental illness make the murderer more dangerous. They should be aggravating factors that should make the execution as soon as possible.

Just to review, "dumbass" is not an epithet. It is a term of art. It refers to modern students with high IQ's who enter law school. After one year of sicko criminal cult enterprise indoctrination, they emerge believing in supernatural central doctrines of the law, mind reading, future forecasting, and the setting of standards of conduct by a fictitious character. Why fictitious? To make the standards objective, of course. This fictitious character is really Jesus Christ in disguise, in violation of the Establishment Clause. All these doctrines are plagiarized from the Catechism, also a massive violation of the Establishment Clause. Thank you for this opportunity to review the basics of the jurisprudence of the American lawyer dumbass. Here is the problem. The Rule of Law is an essential utility proudct, like water. Every self-stated goal of every law subject is in utter failure. If the law were electricity, it would come an hour a day for the rich, and 2 minutes a day for the poor.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 4, 2013 7:02:09 AM

What happens to us, the People of the Great State of Texas, if we kill a human in our collective name? The Sixth Commandment states: Thou shalt not kill. There is no exception which says: Y'all can.

If we are citizens of the Great State of Texas and in our lifetime we have killed several hundred humans at the electric chair or poison pen, then what happens to us when our time comes at the Pearly Gates and it is our day of reckoning before Saint Peter? When he asks about all that blood on our hands do we put on our Texas twang and say: "Y'all can!" ?

Posted by: liberty1st | May 4, 2013 11:52:03 PM

A man visits the Q and sees the writing on the wall. That writing happens to be the soundbites he wanted to see.

Posted by: George | May 5, 2013 2:51:36 AM

So separation of church and state doesn't apply when it comes to the death penalty?

Posted by: MikeinCT | May 5, 2013 4:03:01 PM

I moved out of Texas a long time ago so I have some thngs to say on my own behalf when my time comes at the Pearly Gates and I am asked about my Texas citizenship and thus the killing of humans in my name. Separation of Church and State? Yes. But I am talking about getting into heave not segregation in the South. Where is the logic in having a death penalty law for murder? You kill the defendant because it was wrong that he killed. The kids in Fifth Grade are asking questions about such things and they dont just ask them in Sunday school two days after some guy was killed by The People of The Great State of Texas in the name of that Fifth Grader.

Posted by: liberty1st | May 5, 2013 11:35:05 PM

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