San Quentin

What It Will Take to Transform California’s Most Notorious Prison into a Scandinavian Style Rehabilitation Center

By Scott Shafer | April 4, 2023

San Quentin is the oldest and most notorious prison in California. It’s home to the largest death row in the nation, housing infamous criminals including Charles Manson. But Governor Gavin Newsom has a new vision for the institution, renamed the “San Quentin Rehabilitation Center”. Under his plan, the nearly 550 condemned inmates would move to other maximum security facilities in the state. With a proposed initial infusion of $20 million, San Quentin would aim to increase its rehabilitation programming 10 fold and incorporate methods used in Scandinavian countries to normalize life, emphasize support over punishment, and prepare inmates for their eventual return to society.  Forum talks about the governor’s transformative vision and the challenges in making it happen.


Anita Chabria, columnist, Los Angeles Times

Tinisch Hollins, executive director, Californians for Safety and Justice; co-founder, SF Black Wall Street; Vice Chair, SF African-Americans Reparations Advisory Committee

(Mount Tamalpais Collge Alumni) Thanh Tran, policy associate, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

Attributions: This article originally appeared on KQED on April 3, 2023. Photo courtesy of R.J. Lozada.