The U.S. government is scheduled to execute four death row inmates within a six-week period starting December 9.
The number of death row inmates scheduled is in stark contrast to the mere three executions that have taken place by the federal government since the death penalty was restored in 1988. All executions will take place at the federal facility in Terre Haute, Indiana.
In March of this year, Governor Newsom announced a moratorium on executions for California’s 767 death row inmates, citing the possibility that one of them could be innocent. Just this year, three death row inmates were exonerated for their crimes and released.
In his piece Echoes of an Empty Death Chamber - What Is It Telling Us?, Fr. Stephen Barber, S.J., who served in the chaplain’s office of San Quentin State Prison from 1996 to 2011, praised the Governor’s move and recounted his experience during the last three executions that took place there.
“In virtually every condemned man, I realized that the ongoing work of God remained, as it does for us all, unfinished,” Fr. Barber wrote.
Five inmates were originally scheduled for execution when the Trump Administration announced in July it would resume executions for the first time since 2003. Since that time, one inmate has been granted a stay by a federal court judge while his appeal is pending.
Click here to sign the Catholic Mobilizing Network’s petition to stop the executions.