Elnora Francis, 69 years old, was approved for release by Governor Schwarzenegger on February 15, 2008 released from prison after serving nearly 24 years of a 15-years-to-life for sentence for the death of her abusive husband in 1984. This was the 4th time the parole board had found her suitable for release. Ms. Francis? release was the result of a collective effort of hundreds of concerned community members who supported her freedom over the course of many, many years.
Sheila Northrup has been approved for release by the Governor after serving over 28 years in prison.
Debbie Sims Africa, Janet Hollaway Africa and Janine Phillips Africa of the MOVE 9 were all rejected for parole on April 22, 2008. They have served 30 years of a 30-100 year sentence, in a highly charged political case. According to the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, they were denied because they minimized the nature and circumstances of their offense, they refused to accept responsibility and they lacked remorse. The MOVE organization condemned the Board for demanding admissions of guilt as a condition for parole when the MOVE 9 have maintained their innocence from the time they were arrested in 1978. Four men from the MOVE 9 are still pending a decision on their parole.
Joy Cordes was once again rejected for parole in March 2008.
Sara Olson was released from prison on March 17, 2008 based on the CDCR?s calculation that she had completed her sentence. Four days later, she was rearrested and returned to CCWF. In a highly unusual, politically driven move, the Los Angeles Police Department delved into Sara Olson?s case file and decided that she had been released a year too early. According to her attorney, Sara?s re-arrest did not follow any form of legal due process since she was returned to prison without even a hearing to determine the correct calculation of her sentence. The entire dysfunctional process trampled on Sara?s legal rights and was extremely traumatic for Sara and her family.
Ironically, records obtained by The L.A. Times in February 2008 showed that miscalculations of prisoner sentences were very common throughout the California prison system. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the miscalculations resulted in the prisoners remaining in prison longer than they should have.
Thanks in part to Free Battered Women for the information on releases and denials of incarcerated survivors and to the women prisoners for the information we received about their own cases.
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