This week, a national group fighting against the Death Penalty gave a special award to Jeanne Woodford in recognition of her courage in speaking out against the death penalty. Why is Jeanne Woodford so special?

Prison Guard to Warden of San Quentin to Head of State Corrections Department

Well, Mrs. Woodford began her career as a prison guard at San Quentin, rose to become the warden of California’s famous state prison for several years, and then undertook what she herself calls the “top job in the state — director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.”

During her stint as warden, Jeanne Woodford oversaw the execution of four prisoners. Retiring from civil service in 2006, she is now active in her efforts against capital punishment, and it serves us all to read her own words in explanation for her position in an editorial she wrote for the Los Angeles Times in October 2008.

Jeanne Woodford’s Position Letter

There, Mrs. Woodford explains what led her, with her unique vantage point on capital punishment as warden of San Quentin and head of California’s Corrections Department, to challenge the state’s ability to impose death as punishment for a crime.

What Joanne Woodford writes is worth your time to read.