Over 7,000 women are imprisoned in California, the majority of whom are survivors of domestic violence.
The Board of Parole Hearings, also known as the Parole Board, has the authority to consider evidence of abuse as a factor in the suitability of the prisoner’s parole. The Parole Board is also required to report annually to the Legislature and the Governor on the parole decisions involving intimate partner battering (IPB). However, the Parole Board’s report does not offer concrete details of how the Parole Board evaluates the IPB claims.
Currently, when a domestic violence victim is questioned by the Parole Board on the crimes they committed, the victim often discusses the history of their victimization. The Board frequently considers this acknowledgement of victimization as “lack of insight” and denies his/her parole.
AB 1593 requires that the Parole Board give great weight to any information or evidence that proves the prisoner experienced IPB and its effects at the time the crime was committed. This bill will also prohibit the Parole Board Commissioners from using evidence of IPB as a basis for finding “lack of insight” and denying suitability.