State prison officials say they're ready to resume executions in California. A new execution chamber at San Quentin was constructed with inmate labor. A federal judge in San Jose issued a moratorium on lethal injections four years ago because of conditions at the old execution chamber. Reporter: Scott Shafer
Construction on San Quentin's new execution chamber is finished and may be used next week.
Albert Greenwood Brown is scheduled to die September 29th for the rape and murder of a 15-year-old Riverside girl 30 years ago. His execution would be California's first in five years and the first under new lethal injection regulations that passed last month.
The new chamber was built after a federal judge in San Jose issued a moratorium on lethal injections four years ago. His concerns included bad lighting, careless record keeping, poor training of the execution team, and cramped quarters.
Lt. Sam Robinson, the public information officer at San Quentin, says this new, larger facility addresses those concerns. This execution chamber was constructed with inmate labor and the cost of $853,000.
The execution chamber is hardly plush -- or even comfortable. In fact, it's downright austere. It is guarded by a series of thick white doors.
On the wall are four holes where i.v. lines will pass through and into condemned inmates strapped to a gurney for their final minutes of life.
One thing that hasn't changed in the remodeled chamber -- the eery mint green gurney that inmates are strapped to for execution. The same one used in previous lethal injections sits in the new facility.
On some level it's hard to imagine an execution being humane. But Terry Thornton, spokeswoman with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, says the new lethal injection regulations were adopted after lots of input from the public.
"It is something that people care about," said Thornton. "They took the time to read the draft regulations and supply comment and we incorporated many of those changes in this whole process."
But that doesn't satisfy Lance Lindsey, executive director of Death Penalty Focus, a long time opponent of capital punishment. Lindsey suggests the state is rushing this next execution for political reasons.
We're not investing in real public safety solutions," said Lindsey. "We're investing in a political solution that serves no social service."
Since California reinstated the death penalty in 1977, 13 inmates have been executed.
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