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Death Row Abolished

By Mark LaRue

For several months it was rumored that death row was being closed down and everyone with a death sentence was being moved to the other tiers in IMU or 5 Wing [protective custody, editor]. No one believed the rumors of course. So it came as a real surprise to learn everybody on death row was moved and a whole new cast of characters was now occupying their old cells.

What prompted these changes is not yet known. But most, if not all, with a death sentence will benefit from these changes so no one is really complaining at this point in time. Indeed, some prisoners have been on death row for six years or more and welcome any chance to get off death row and out of IMU even if it means going to 5 Wing.

As is stands now, only half of the death row prisoners are still in IMU as they're gradually moved over to 5 Wing. However, others are waiting in the wings to take their place and can expect to stay in IMU for at least a year before they are eligible to join the others in 5 Wing.

Needless to say, there's really no point in housing any of these men in IMU because they have the death penalty. But it'll take time for officials to realize these prisoners don't pose a problem here at the Washington State Penitentiary. Indeed, this is the third or fourth time death row has been eliminated at this prison. Our general population is already full of former death row prisoners who have never caused a problem of any kind. So why bother housing these men in IMU? Your guess is as good as mine, but that's how it is here at WSP.

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