A Table Before Me in the Presence of My Enemies: Susan Atkins and the Embodiment of Aging and Frailty on Parole

In: International Criminal Law Review
Hadar Aviram UC Hastings College of the Law, 200 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA,

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In this article I rely on 50 years’ worth of parole hearing transcripts in the Manson family cases to argue that, on parole, the embodiment of aging is treated evasively and with hostility by the parole board. The parole board’s difficulty to reconcile the applicant’s youthful and violent past with their aging, frail present, almost always results in a rejection of the embodied present and future—and of parole. Following an explanation of the California parole process, emphasizing the role that time and aging plays in its different stages, I analyze Susan Atkins’ last parole hearing as an example. To show the general implications of the analysis, and its disastrous consequences for public health, I place the argument in the context of California’s covid-19 prison crisis.

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