General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Do the Manson family women deserve parole?

Asked by tinyfaery (36187 points ) August 30th, 2008

Its been over 35 years since Susan Atkins and the other women were convicted of murder. They were so young when they went into prison, and since then they have “reformed” and have been “born again”. Has justice been served? Have they done their time? Or are they evil, and deserve to rot in prison?

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16 Answers

glitterrrrfish's avatar

I think they’ve done there time, simply because they were young and easy to manipulate and brainwash when they commitd these crimes. They should be much more mature now.

augustlan's avatar

This question addresses issues that are much broader than just the Manson family…is justice ever truly served by a prison sentence, especially for murder? Is a jailhouse conversion real, or just a ploy to gain parole? How can you know? I don’t claim to have these answers, but it is something I’ve wondered about. I’d like to see more “truth in sentencing”, with the whole idea of parole abolished, and fairer, realistic sentences given in the first place. Maybe instead of parole for good behavior, you’d have other ways to reward it…such as a choice of work assignments, access to more free time, classes to attend, etc. As far as their age at the time of the crimes goes, I don’t see that as a legitimate mitigating factor. We are all responsible for ourselves past a certain point, and I’d say they were well past that age.

stratman37's avatar

Just because you change your ways, doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay for the consequences of your actions.

glitterrrrfish's avatar

nearly 40years, I think they shoulda learned their lesson by now

JackAdams's avatar

Agreed, but let’s keep them locked up anyway, in case they haven’t, glitterrrrfish.

August 31, 2008, 1:54 AM EDT

wildflower's avatar

Personally I don’t believe Newton’s Law should apply to a justice system. It’s about justice, not revenge. Any notion of “they should rot..” or “lock em up and throw away the key” is an emotional response and not that of a half-decent justice system (which should empathize, govern and enforce laws/rules, but not sympathize or act on emotion).
Therefore, if they have learned from their mistakes, reformed, pose no further threat to themselves or others and can contribute to society (and this would be the parole board’s job to establish), then I think they should be paroled.

tinyfaery's avatar

Nicely stated wildflower. Does that mean that people really can change?

wildflower's avatar

I think people’s behavior can change…...as for the core make-up of a person, I’m undecided, lacking insight.

[edit]: In other words, the disposition that lead to the criminal behavior may still be there, but they may have learned not to act on it.

Knotmyday's avatar

If they are eligible, I think they should be given the opportunity for parole.

Megan64's avatar

I think their still being incarcerated is symbolic. It’s probably the most well-known case out there; it was horrific and that kind of extreme, random violence was not common at the time. Just like it’s pretty clear that Manson is a schizophrenic but he’s not going to be released to a mental health facility anytime soon, those people will most-likely die of old-age in jail.

I tend to agree that just because a prisoner has reformed, doesn’t mean s/he shouldn’t suffer the consequences of what s/he’s done (victims’ families may still be suffering). But I also agree that there needs to be some sort of reform and move toward rehabilitation: Input from victims’ families on parole/release, reassignment to a more appropriate facility if the person becomes infirm or aged, treatment and appropriate incarceration for those with mental illness. I’m not too familiar with the prison system, but I know that there’s too many people in jail and that it costs a lot of money to keep them there when they’re too old to hurt anyone anymore.

Also, if we’re not going to bother to rehabilitate folks when they’re in prison, we shouldn’t release them back into the world with the same attitudes/lifestyle/resources/skills they had when they went in. I does neither the general population nor them any good. It’s one thing to reform oneself in jail, but does that reform stay with prisoners when they leave and have to deal with the pressures of the outside world? I wonder if there’s any research on the success rate of released prisoners.

Not an organized answer, apologies up front.

marinelife's avatar

I think it would be nice if the same crime (murder) got the same sentence. Why is the death of one person worth 10 years, another 25 years, another 40 years, and still another life without parole?

I wish our justice system was applied in a dispassionate, equal way.

I do not think being young when the crime was committed is a reason to get out.

Having reformed may be a reason, but how is that to be determined?

The innocent people they killed are still dead. They have no possibility of parole.

JackAdams's avatar

@Marina: I wish I could sign my own name to what you just wrote.

You have spoken FOR ME, and I thank you!

August 31, 2008, 10:43 PM EDT

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i don’t know, i see both points of view on this. i mean, they are people, and if you invest any emotion into your answer, you could feel bad and think, ‘well people CAN change…’. but can’t that go the other way too? they took an innocent’s life. their life is OVER. does it matter if the other person can change? they’re alive, but another is not because of them. does being in jail but still being granted the ability to live justify their crime? i don’t know. i mean, that one person just ended a life, and then you also have to consider everything else that’s happened as an effect of that. the murdered person’s family, friends, etc. and like marina said, the dead have no possibility of parole. i think that’s unfair that the innocent person can’t get their life back, but the person who killed them can. especially those who otherwise could control their actions but chose to let whatever overtake them and kill someone.

ETpro's avatar

No. I just finished reading Helter Skelter. The Manson Family “girls” hated society well before they came under Charlie Manson’s evil control. He permitted them to do what they were already inclined to do. And as best as I can determine, they remain unrepentant. If released, they will likely kill again. Members of “The Family” who weren’t convicted at the time also went on to carry out additional murders. It is why Charlie recruited them into the Family, and why Squeaky continued to seek them out.

There are crimes so heinous they deserve life without the possibility of parole, and if the Tate-Labianca murders along with the 30 some other murders The Family committed at the time don’t qualify as that, then no crime does. If Hitler hadn’t taken his own life, he too should be set free to do it again.

ETpro's avatar

BTW, the entire Manson Family was well schooled by Charlie in how to play insane, play reformed, play saved by Jesus, whatever it took to get out and murder more “Pigs” in order to bring on “Helter Skelter”, the race war between blacks and whites. There is no way I’d trust that that has changed enough to put more innocent victims within these murders’ reach. They killed innocent people including one very pregnant woman with knives, stabbing some of their victims as many as 60 times. They left carving knives in a victim’s throat. They stabbed a fork into a victim’s stomach. They wrote anti-establishment epithets designed to provoke a race war on the crime scenes using their victim’s blood. After all that, how sure are you they have found Jesus?

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