Should former Manson follower be granted parole?
Personally I really struggle with people that are incarcerated for long (sometimes life-long) periods of time for crimes they have committed as “children”. I’m going to use that word loosely, as Van Houten was 19 at the time of the crime. Are teenagers and young adults capable of making a wise decision in every life changing situation thrown at them? Particularly in a case like this, which is somewhat unique, in that Manson obviously had quite a powerful grip on his followers. It seems perfectly reasonable to me to think that she was a confused and foolish 19 year old girl. 40 years later, I can easily believe that she is fully rehabilitated.
But, I get the impression that rehabilitation is rarely the point under circumstances like this. I don’t think most people care if she’s a perfect angel now – but instead feel like someone that has taken part in such a heinous crime should “rot in prison.”
What do you think? Do people that are most likely truly rehabilitated deserve a second chance? Or do the terrible actions of their youth define them until the end?