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Old 01-29-2006, 01:29 PM
William'sBaby William'sBaby is offline
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Default San Quentin State Prison- History

San Quentin State Prison (SQ)



San Quentin was established in July 1852 at Point Quentin in Marin county as an answer to the rampant lawlessness in California at the time. During its construction, inmates slept on the prison ship, the Waban, at night and labored to build the new prison during the day. San Quentin housed both male and female inmates until 1933 when the women's prison at Tehachapi was built.

San Quentin Prison is the oldest prison in California. Located north of San Francisco, in the heart of one of the state's most affluent areas, San Quentin Prison is California's only death row with a Gas Chamber. All male inmates condemned to die are housed here. The prison opened in 1852 and was built mostly by convicts, who slept on a ship at night until the job was completed.

From 1893 to 1942, California's preferred method of execution was hanging.
The first gas chamber execution was carried out in 1938. The chamber at San Quentin is kept in the basement and is simply a large green box. Six feet across, eight feet high with a 30 foot chimney to exhale gas.

Since 1960, California has executed 192 men and 4 women by gassing at San Quentin prison. In 1996, William G Bonin became the first person in California to be executed by lethal injection. The gas chamber was outlawed in 1994 as a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

It takes 1,500 staff members to manage the nearly 6,000 inmates on the grounds, including the 550 condemned prisoners. These numbers, dated Winter 2003 from California's Department of Corrections web page, show that the prison was only designed to hold 3,317 prisoners. The annual operating budget of San Quentin State Prison? $120,000,000.00.

Considering that the prison's location is very desirable property, with views of the San Francisco Bay Area and convenient access to Silicon Valley, it is likely inmates will be shipped off to other prisons around California within the decade.


San Quentin State Prison - Mission Statement

San Quentin is California's oldest and best known correctional institution. The prison today includes a reception center for new commitments, a parole violator unit, general population units, and a minimum security work crew unit. The state's only gas chamber and death row for all male condemned inmates are located at San Quentin.


Map of San Quentin Housing




San Quentin houses Level I and Level II inmates. It also houses inmates in Reception and those who are Condemned.


Inmate Programs

* PIA: Furniture manufacturing, mattress manufacturing.

*Vocational: Dry cleaning, electrical, graphic arts and printing, landscaping, machine shop, plumbing, sheet metal.

*Academic: Adult Basic Education, High School/GED, Pre-Release, English as a Second Language, Literacy Program.

*Other: Community Service Crews, Youth Diversion, Religious, Arts in Corrections, Victim Awareness, Drug Treatment/Diversion, Joint Venture, Computers for Schools, Eyeglass re cycling, Bicycle repair.
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