Theresa Cruz was abused for five years before she confided in a male friend, who then shot her abuser in the legs. Although the abuser suffered no permanent injury, Theresa was sentenced to life for attempted murder.
Theresa, her mother and her children have tried ceaselessly to win Theresa’s release. As a result of her family’s testimony, California enacted a law in January 1996 (AB231) that allows the Board of Prison Terms to consider the broad effects of abuse on a woman when deciding about her release on parole. But at Theresa’s parole hearing in May 1996 her abuser testified against her and she was turned down for parole and told to come back in May 1998.
For your fighting spirit and the change you’re helping to bring for all women, we dedicate this issue to you, Theresa.
This issue of Fire Inside is also dedicated to Claudia Reddy, a 42 year old Dominican woman serving a 15 year to life sentence at the California Institution for Women in Frontera for defending herself against a violent and abusive husband.
Claudia has already served 15 years and for the past several years, she has lived and suffered in constant pain due to the fast spreading lung cancer that has taken over her body. As we go to press, we have learned that Claudia was rushed to the intensive care ward of the local hospital. Doctors say she has less than a week to live. The California Coalition for Women Prisoners urges everyone to call, fax or write both Governor Wilson and the Board of Prison Terms (parole board) to demand that Claudia be granted either an immediate compassionate release or clemency.