The Changing Times

by Gloria Killian, CIW
The election of Governor Gray Davis signals a possible shift on crime and punishment. Early in 1999 several bills were introduced that impact incarcerated women.
One of the most important is Senate Bill 128 which concerns life sentences and parole dates. Introduced by Senator Polanco, this bill provides that for a first time offender convicted of only one crime. the Board of Prison Terms shall not deny a parole date solely on the gravity of the offense. Since BPT parole denials are routinely based on the heinousness of the crime, this bill could have a significant effect on the number of parole dates granted.
Changes in the political and judicial system also require changes in us. We are not powerless and it is time to stop acting as if we are helpless. At CIW we have initiated a massive letter writing campaign in support of SB 128 and it is creating an impact. A message from Senator Vasconcellas stated, “I will support this bill. Please drum up more support.”
We all write letters to friends and family, so put those letters to good use. Ask everyone you know to contact their elected representatives by letter, phone, fax, or e-mail to support this bill. We do have a voice and it is time to make ourselves heard.