A Gift From the Parole Board

March 13, 2010 at 3:50 pm Leave a comment

From My Fox LA

Los Angeles – A Los Angeles woman who spent 23 years in prison after being convicted of setting a fatal 1985 fire in the Garment District was expected to be released from prison in the next few days, with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger deciding not to review a parole board decision that she be set free.

Rosa Maria Sanchez, a mother of four children who ran a clothing business in the Garment District, was convicted of setting the blaze, purportedly to eliminate a competitor.

But second-year USC law student Jennifer Farrell, who has been working to secure Sanchez’s release, insisted Sanchez was innocent. She said Sanchez’s defense attorney inexplicably failed during her trial to call five witnesses who could have testified that Sanchez was at home when the fire was set.

She also contended that Sanchez was running a successful business, contradicting the prosecution’s claim that the fire was set for financial reasons.

In October, the state Parole Board recommended that Sanchez be released. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had until Thursday to act on the board’s recommendation, but he took no action, clearing the way for Sanchez to leave prison.

I am glad that she had a chance to live a new life. My analysis is that the parole board grants parole in exceptional circumstances for lifers. And this case met the criteria for exceptional circumstances.

It is my opinion that the current system in the state does not adequately prepare regular lifers to have the coping skills to live on the outside and therefore, they never get released on the outside. In addition, a lot of the prisoners lack the ability to observe deep in thought at their crime, the character defects that caused the crime, and the ability to develop alternative coping skills to prevent violent behavior. A lot of the prisoners also lack the ability to handle difficult or very difficult life circumstances without resort to drug abuse or out of desperation, committing a crime of violence.

Therefore, they are never released. For these individuals, a penpal who has experience in the AA or SMART Recovery programs, who has a high level of spiritual wisdom, and who has the deep serenity that results in patience and the ability to listen is the person that can give these people the ability to gain the coping skills to make it on the outside and get parole.

However, I do not know whether those individuals actually exist. And that is a shame.

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