Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision to place a moratorium on executions theoretically spares the lives of more than 700 death row inmates in California. In fact, most of those condemned prisoners were much more likely to die from old age, disease or suicide than by lethal injection. In that sense – and because of the risk of executing an innocent person – Zocalo Public Square commentator Joe Mathews applauds Newsom’s move. But he says one regrettable consequences of the moratorium could be that even less attention paid to our troubled prison system. The death penalty was the one subject that made people pay attention to what happens behind bars in California.
A requiem for the death penalty