Manson Follower Susan Atkins Dying, May Get Released From Prison
Atkins is dying of brain cancer and had a leg amputated. With less than six months to live, she has received initial approval for compassionate release so she can die outside of prison.
Even former Manson prosecutor Vicent Bugliosi does not object:
"She has paid substantially, though not completely, for her horrendous crimes. Paying completely would mean imposing the death penalty," Bugliosi said. "But given that she has six months to live, and the loss of her leg, I don't have an objection to her being released."
More approvals are necessary before Atkins gets the final decision:
Her bid for release must still be approved by officials at the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Thornton said. A positive recommendation would send her case to the state Board of Parole, which would conduct an investigation and issue its own findings, she said. That hearing could include public comment.
A sentence of life with the possibility of parole, like that imposed on Atkins and Van Houton, is not the same thing as a sentence of life without parole.
Parole boards have a duty to consider more than just the severity of the offense. These two women, who have served 37 years each, have had model records of behavior while in prison and neither poses a current danger to society. By only considering the heinousness of the offense, their sentences have effectively been changed to life without parole.
Free Susan Atkins.
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