Why Capital Punishment?

Why a film about capital punishment? I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area not far from two of the most notorious prisons in the U.S.; San Quentin and Alcatraz Island. You can’t miss them. Alcatraz Island, in the middle of the bay, was home to a federal maximum-security prison that operated from 1934 to 1963 and is famous for gangster Al Capone and the murderer “Birdman”. I took a tour as a teenager and to this day remember the dank urine scent of its solitary cells. San Quentin is a State facility still in operation and currently houses 699 of California’s 740 death row inmates. California has far more prisoners on death row than any other state. Ironically, the waters just beyond the prison are a mecca for wind and kite surfers. What a bizarre juxtaposition. This year, California voters may have a chance to vote on competing death penalty measures and this is why an educated discussion needs to happen now.

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- Maggie Stogner