It has been more than 17 years since California last executed one of its Death Row residents in January 2006.
Administrative processes, executive actions and various legal battles have been contributing factors to prevent executions during the period, according to Fox 40 news.
“We are starting the process of closing death row to repurpose and transform the current housing units into something innovative and anchored in rehabilitation,” a CDCR spokesperson told the Associated Press.
The last incarcerated individual to be put to death was 76-year-old Clarence Ray Allen, who was executed by way of lethal injection, noted the article.
A U.S. District Court found that the process of lethal injection in California was cruel and unusual punishment, because the incarcerated would experience very high levels of pain. CDCR organized and submitted a new lethal injection process in 2009. They were willing to make this process public information, accepting public feedback.
This process was again revised and submitted in 2010 to the Office of Administrative Law which subsequently rejected the draft and required changes. This revision has been extended several times due to a desire to change the lethal injection from a three-drug cocktail to a one-drug cocktail, reported FOX.
Lastly, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a moratorium in 2019 stopping all executions, saying the death penalty disproportionally affected people of color. African Americans make up only 6.5% of the state’s population, but they currently make up a third of the population on death row, according to Fox 40.
For the last two years CDCR has been implementing a pilot program which allows qualifying candidates to be moved to appropriate programing yards at other institutions. It has been announced by CDCR that this program will remain permanent.