Readers Respond

>> San Quentin’s Death Row
I have not read a POV of Jim Wood’s with which I could agree more with than “San Quentin Controversy” (November). I frequently take the ferry and look with dismay at the tragic waste of both human life and taxpayer dollars transpiring there. The death penalty is a red meat, atavistic attempt to make ourselves feel better when we are reviled at our society’s failures. It does not deter crime in the slightest. The practice is pure financial folly when the costs of death are weighed against life imprisonment. Shoveling colossal sums of good money after bad, instead of improving education to prevent criminality in the first place, is just unbearably stupid. Wood has inspired me to do all I can to halt the building of the “Cadillac” of a death row and to rid this once great state of the barbaric idiocy of the death penalty.  
George Janku, via-email

I vehemently disagree with Jim Wood’s San Quentin death penalty stand. I do not think anyone can say it does or doesn’t deter murder. At least, not until we try it out “for real.” This means no more 20-year death row stints for guys who’ve raped and murdered five people, etc. They would get a fair and speedy trial and, if found guilty, they would die the next day or next week. Not in the next decade or two. To Wood, that’s barbaric. To me, it’s fair; it’s cheaper than 50 years in prison; and, what common sense tells me, it will be a deterrent. So let’s give murderous thugs their DNA test, then quickly eliminate them from hurting others and sucking up precious resources!
John Novick, Strawberry

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