The woman who presided over San Quentin Prison’s death row for five years, former warden, Jeanne S. Woodford, will take over as head of the nation’s largest anti-death penalty organization, Death Penalty Focus. Woodford oversaw four executions during her tenure as head of the prison between 1999 and 2004.
She will be introduced as head of the anti-death penalty group at its annual dinner May 12 in Beverly Hills. Woodford is currently a senior fellow at the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice working on criminal justice policy.
Woodford worked her way up through the ranks of the prison system in California from guard, counselor, captain and associate warden at San Quentin before being named to head the 5,800-inmate facility. She took over as Director of the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, head of the entire state prison system, in 2005 but resigned as four years ago.
She told the Los Angeles Times , “I never was in favor of the death penalty, but my experience at San Quentin allowed me to see it from all points of view. I had a duty to carry out, and I tried to do it with professionalism.”