Death Penalty Action
3 min readJun 28, 2020

The Covid crisis has arrived at San Quentin. More than 500 are infected. More than 166 on death row are infected. Please raise awareness of this humanitarian crises. If you live in the Bay Area, there is a rally at 1pm TODAY at San Quentin. Details are in the Toolkit referenced at #2, below.

Here is a disturbing video from San Quentin:

SF Chronicle June 25, 2020 story on first death on East Block:


1. Sign and submit your letter.

Send a letter calling on the Governor to IMMEDIATELY release those at San Quentin who have already done their time and been found eligible for parole (a nearly impossible feat to achieve). These 27 human beings only stay caged in extreme danger and horrific conditions because California is one of just a couple of states that requires the Governor to review the Parole Board’s decision. If a conservative board found these folks were ready to go home BEFORE the pandemic hit SQ, there is no reason the Governor would reverse that decision now. This letter calls on Governor Newsom to have his Office review these cases TODAY and send these people home NOW. They should not risk death or the delay of justice after already earning and being granted parole by the state of California.
The attached letter has already been signed and submitted by numerous social justice organizations. Please add the text to your own letterhead and email it to Eliza Hersh and Katie Mathews in the Legal Affairs — Clemency and Pardons department, at: and

2. Please familiarize yourself with the Toolkit here.

3. Please reach out to any and every one you can on this list of policymakers to call for immediate ACTION to reduce the population at San Quentin and to lift up the demands put out by people inside last week:

1. CDCR and Governor Newsom must grant immediate releases

2. Stop the transfers between prisons

3. Provide COVID-19 testing to 100% of the population

4. Limit exposed staff from working in units with no known positive cases

5. Expand credit-earning opportunities

6. Provide free hygiene supplies and stamps

7. Provide free tele-visiting privileges

8. Expand free phone calls

4. Recent Media to Share and Lift Up

Media Toolkit for doing Social Media​ (from last week’s press conference)

SF Chronicle June 24, 2020 story: UC health experts: San Quentin coronavirus outbreak could pose threat to entire Bay Area

SF Chronicle June 25, 2020 story on first death on East Block

NBC June 25, 2020 story ft. video from a brave incarcerated person using contraband cell phone inside SQ

Amend @ UCSF June 15, 2020 memo​ begging CDCR to reduce by 50% (also see June 24 story​ about this memo)

GoFundMe for Madonna Watson’s son​ — Madonna is the first woman to die from COVID in CA prisons, and one of only two people before yesterday that had been identified by family:


Nancy Haydt, J.D.

Executive Director
Death Penalty Focus

And from Death Penalty Action

Sign petitions to oppose upcoming executions here.

PS: Like what we do? Help make it happen with your donation today, here! SPECIAL UPDATE: The next $12,000 raised with be tripled by an amazing supporter! Please give generously today!



Death Penalty Action

Death Penalty Action provides high visibility resources, leadership and support in order to stop executions.