San Quentin State Prison is California's oldest correctional facility and has the state's only gas chamber and death row for male inmates. Five years ago, the facilities at San Quentin were deemed too small, cramped, and poorly lit to ensure humane executions, so San Jose federal judge Jeremy Fogel shut down executions in California. Yesterday, Fogel returned to San Quentin to review the new facilities.
Given that California may start executing people in the public's name again, it's important for citizens to have an informed opinion about capital punishment. And to that end, we think it's valuable for people to actually see the place where those executions would happen—grim though it is.