Death penalty on the verge of extinction

by Timothy James Young

Tim Young

Prison abolition will not happen overnight, nor will it happen all at once. If we, the people, are to imagine a landscape without prisons, then we must begin to chip away at the very foundations on which they stand.

We know that prisons are an extension of the slave trade, and we also know that the death penalty is just a more evolved way of lynching Black folks.

When it comes to these long standing atrocities, the people who benefit from them, and the people who turn a blind eye to them, are just as culpable as the people who set them in motion.

Here in California, we now have a governor who is not only morally and ethically opposed to the death penalty, but he is actually taking steps to abolish it!

On March 12, 2019, less than 90 days after being inaugurated, Gov. Gavin Newsom placed a moratorium on the death penalty. The following day, on March 13, 2019, a large group of lawmakers took the moratorium to the next level, by filing a bill in the California Assembly to abolish the death penalty.

The bill is called ACA(12). It sets out to do two things: 1) To amend the California Constitution so that the death penalty can no longer be imposed as a punishment. 2) To place an Anti-Death Penalty Initiative on the 2020 ballot, thereby giving voters a third opportunity to finally get this right!

This is proof that Gov. Gavin Newsom not only has the courage to bring about change, but he is also staying true to his word. During the campaign, he stated that abolishing the death penalty would be a major priority. He also stated that he plans to back his ballot measure with the “money and the manpower that it needs to succeed.”

It’s rare when one can say this, but this time around, the politicians really have their act together. It is now time for those of us who believe in prison abolition, prison reform, criminal justice reform etc. to organize, mobilize and help vote the death penalty into extinction.

©Timothy James Young. Send our brother some love and light: Tim Young, F-23374, San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin CA 94974. And visit his website, Timothyjamesyoung.com.