One of the most famous killers in the American prison system will soon be walking free. On Tuesday Charles Manson, who is now 79 years old, was granted parole by the California Board of Parole and authorized by California Governor Jerry Brown.
According to California Board of Parole Hearings Commissioner John Peck, prison overcrowding forced the prison board to re-evaluate prisoners that are elderly or those with serious illnesses. In February a panel of federal judges ordered California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) two more years to reduce chronic prison overcrowding that has cost the state billions of dollars.
The ruling, issued by three judges overseeing the state’s efforts to ease the overcrowding, gives California until February 2016 to achieve their goals. But, the judges said, the state has to make elderly inmates and those with serious illnesses eligible for parole immediately.
Manson, who was denied parole in April of 2012 and wasn’t scheduled for another parole hearing until 2027, was re-evaluated due to his age and health and the Parole Board recommended his parole.
“He is 79 years old and in poor health,” said Commissioner Peck. “We know it’s not going to be a popular decision but, considering our other options, he’s the least threat.”
Protesters have already planned to picket the lawn outside of the prison in Corcoran, but what is more surprising is the number of supporters that have come out to express joy over the news.
“It’s a great [expletive] day in America!” said Joe Goldsmith, who camped out in front of the prison Wednesday morning, decked out in Manson gear and sporting tattoos covering his face. “Manson is my idol”
While parole was granted, the actual release date has not yet been set.