The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has just proposed new lethal injection regulations in an attempt to bring the death penalty back to California after a decade without executions. The new lethal injection rules create significant concerns: The possibility of botched executions due to untried methods, a failure to assess the enormous cost of the death penalty to the state, and unequal access to therapeutic and spiritual advisors for the condemned. California even proposes experimentation with lethal drugs and the use of poison gas.
Far from salvaging California's broken death penalty, these new rules will leave the state with more uncertainty in a system that is deeply flawed from beginning to end.
The only good news is that the state is required to listen and individually respond to your concerns about its execution proposals. If you speak up, then you will play a direct role in the outcome of this troubling development. Sign the petition today and let CDCR know you oppose these new, fundamentally flawed proposals for killing prisoners.
I am deeply concerned about the CDCR’s new proposed lethal injection regulations. The CDCR has a troubled past with regards to lethal injection, as do many other states that continue to go through extreme measures to salvage a death penalty system that we all know is broken from start to finish.
Specifically, I am concerned about the following in the new proposed regulations:
1) Inadequate fiscal impact statement: By not accounting for all of the costs associated with carrying out executions, the CDCR has failed to perform an adequate economic impact assessment in proposing these regulations. Indeed, the Legislative Analyst’s Office has recently estimated annual costs associated with the death penalty to be $150 million annually.
2) No procedure for addressing botched executions: The regulations fail to provide a procedure in the event an execution goes wrong or encounters problems. This is specifically concerning given the gruesome botched executions in Oklahoma and Arizona last year.
3) Visiting: The regulation should allow for family visiting up until three hours prior to the scheduled execution, and phone access thereafter. Losing a family member to execution is a severe and lasting trauma, and the CDCR should ensure surviving family members can say goodbye in the final hours.
4) Drug Experimentation: The regulations name two drugs (amobarbital and secobarbital) that have never been used in lethal injection. If the CDCR is planning to resume executions, it should at the very least not be using methods that are untested and poorly understood. I do not support my tax dollars being used in this type of "innovation," which amounts to nothing more than human experimentation.
5) Great uncertainty with respect to lethal drugs: The proposed regulations do not make clear which of the four drugs will be used in any given execution or how and when the "inmate's choice" comes into play. Nor does the proposed regulation clearly state whether the drugs will be manufactured and FDA-approved or compounded and how that decision will be made. The Department should only procure drugs for execution in a manner that complies with all applicable laws, but the proposed regulation does not make clear that it will. Given the confusing way the proposed regulations are drafted, I feel constrained about how even to direct or focus my comments related to the selection, procurement, and validity of the lethal drug to be used.
In conclusion, I support eliminating the death penalty in California and I oppose implementing the proposed regulations on lethal injection as drafted.