by Joy Cordes, CCWF
My last Parole Board hearing was in March 2002. I’ve been in prison 23 years on a seven-to-life sentence. When I went to the Board this year I had two job offers, a drug program residential living acceptance, enrollment in the American River College and over a dozen letters of support. I’ve been free of any disciplinary actions for twelve years. My court appointed lawyer showed up less than 72 hours before the hearing. During the hearing he did nothing except read a written out summary statement at the end. One Commissioner fell asleep during the hearing. Another Commissioner delivered the decision saying he was concerned about the disciplinary points I had from my early days in prison and advised me to “Stay disciplinary free and attend self-help.” He also told me “If we were to find you suitable for parole, it would probably be denied anyway” to which I answered “Thank you for saying this cause it shows that you are just upholding the governor’s no parole policy.” There is more and more anguish in here among lifers because of the Parole Board’s policies. My urgent statement to everyone is Appeal the decisions and get into court. For now this is the best and only solution.