Changing minds

This from the Los Angeles Times:

Former California prisons leader joins fight against death penalty

Jeanne Woodford, the former director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation who as warden at San Quentin reluctantly oversaw four executions, will become the executive director of the nonprofit Death Penalty Focus.

As the clock ticked past midnight and the death chamber phone refused to ring, San Quentin State Prison Warden Jeanne Woodford would calmly signal the executioners to inject a lethal dose of chemicals into the condemned man’s veins.

Reared in a Roman Catholic family, she grew up believing that only God had the right to take a life. But four times in her 30-year career in California corrections, the soft-spoken mother of five carried out executions of notorious killers, remorseful and unrepentant alike.

Woodford resigned as director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation four years ago, dismayed over state authorities’ clinging to policies such as the death penalty that she had concluded are wasteful, discriminatory and fail to make the public safer.

Now, as the state tries to restart the execution machinery after a five-year legal hiatus, Woodford has crossed to the other side of the contentious debate over capital punishment.

To read more, click here.

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