The death penalty’s days may be numbered in California. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce on Wednesday his plans to use executive action to reduce the use of the death penalty.
“I do not believe that a civilized society can claim to be a leader in the world as long as its government continues to sanction the premeditated and discriminatory execution of its people,” Newsom is expected to say on Wednesday, according to a statement from his office to INSIDER.
“The death penalty is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian,” Newsom said.
California has not executed a death row inmate since 2006 due to legal challenges, but it has 737 inmates on death row — the most of any state — including 24 who were convicted of murder.
Newsom is personally opposed to capital punishment, and in an interview with the Los Angeles Times published Tuesday morning, he addressed the issue and gave hints at how he may use his executive power as governor.
“The minute I got elected, in the transition, I prioritized this issue,” Newsom said to The Times. “I don’t want to react to something. I want to be proactive. And I have been very proactive in trying to determine what the best path is.”
He asked his advisers to look into what he can legally do, The Times said, and his options include, “constitutional power to commute death sentences and issue temporary reprieves.”
He will order the closure of the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison, halt executions of those sitting on death row by issuing a reprieve to those on death row, and will withdraw California’s lethal injection regulations, according to the governor’s office. The order will not release any inmates from prison or or change what they are convicted of.
In 2016, Newsom supported Proposition 62, which would have abolished the death penalty. It lost by a vote of 53% to 47%; that same year voters approved Proposition 66, which changed the appeals process and ultimately speed up the death penalty process.