California’s San Quentin prison gets upgraded execution facility

The former gas chamber in San Quentin State Pr...
Image via Wikipedia

Execution is going to be a much more visible and sterile experience at California‘s San Quentin State Prison from now on.

The spacious, new $853,000 lethal-injection center has three brightly lit witness viewing rooms, and each gives a considerably better view than the old, cramped gas chamber‘s lone, poorly illuminated viewing room.

On Wednesday, rapist-murderer Albert Greenwood Brown, 56, is scheduled to be executed, but whether or not he is put to death is unclear because there remain several avenues for appeal.

When California halted all executions in February 2006, a judge ruled that the state’s procedures were so badly flawed they posed a risk of leaving the dying inmate conscious and in pain at levels that violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

In response, state officials revised the procedures and built the new death chamber.

It replaces the 1937-vintage gas chamber that was tucked behind a ominous-looking iron door.

The new facility has been wired with speakers so that the condemned prisoner will be able to broadcast his last words by a wireless microphone held to his lips by one of the executioners.

Scripps Howard News Service


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