Yesterday's Monsters: The Manson Family Cases and the Illusion of Parole (Paperback)
In 1969, the world was shocked by a series of murders committed by Charles Manson and his “family” of followers. Although the defendants were sentenced to death in 1971, their sentences were commuted to life with parole in 1972; since 1978, they have been regularly attending parole hearings. Today all of the living defendants remain behind bars.
Relying on nearly fifty years of parole hearing transcripts, as well as interviews and archival materials, Hadar Aviram invites readers into the opaque world of the California parole process—a realm of almost unfettered administrative discretion, prison programming inadequacies, high-pitched emotions, and political pressures. Yesterday’s Monsters offers a fresh longitudinal perspective on extreme punishment.
About the Author
Hadar Aviram is Thomas Miller Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. She is the author of Cheap on Crime: Recession-Era Politics and the Transformation of American Punishment and a coeditor of The Legal Process and the Promise of Justice. She is a frequent media commentator and runs the California Correctional Crisis blog.
"Aviram delves into the world of the California parole process, finding almost unfettered administrative discretion, prison programming inadequacies, high-pitched emotions, and political pressures."
— Law & Social Inquiry
"Does a time arrive when actors in even a truly heinous crime merit parole? . . . Aviram's readable, astute, and discerning parsing makes this a provocative examination of this under-investigated issue."
"As California rethinks the roles of imprisonment and parole in this COVID-19, post-Three Strikes era, Yesterday’s Monsters has some lessons for today."
— San Francisco Chronicle
"Aviram’s book is a significant contribution to the academic literature discussing the social aspects of punishment in late 20th century America, but even more importantly, it is an imperative addition to discretionary parole research, which requires much more attention."
— Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books