Does America’s lack of compassion know no depths? As the Occupy Wallstreet demonstrations around the USA highlight the very real anger and disappointment in our country’s wealthy elite (and the politicians who protect them) to contribute more to their society, another drama is playing out in California that shows just how little compassion our legal system has for its most frail inmates.
Patricia Wright, a terminally ill woman serving a life sentence in California, has just been denied the right to spend her last days at home with her children. Wright was convicted in 1998 for the murder of her husband seventeen years earlier, without any physical or forensic evidence supporting the conviction. She and her family have maintained her innocence and have advocated for her release from prison for years.
Only two years ago, the terrorist, Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, convicted of the bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie and the death of the 270 passengers was released from prison in Scotland on “compassionate grounds” so he could spend his final days suffering from terminal prostate cancer at home with his family. The fact that the California legal system cannot show the same level of mercy to a woman convicted of much less serious crimes is frustrating and, in my opinion, galling.
Despite being of no threat to society and her son, Alfey Ramdhan, starting a campaign on Change.org that has attracted over 2,500 supporters, the request was blocked by Judge Becky Dugan because Ms. Wright has three felony strikes against her and is serving a life sentence without parole, which makes her ineligible for compassionate release.
Two of those strikes on her record stem from an incident in which her then 7-year-old son stole two toys worth less than a dollar each, but were counted as a felony apiece against Ms. Wright. The judge, despite pleas from Wright’s family, would not consider removing either of those felony convictions from her record.
Wright, who is blind, diabetic, and suffering from stage four breast cancer which has spread to her colon, brain, liver, and ovaries, is obviously not going to run away, nor hurt anyone if released, has five children and six grandchildren that want to be with her in her final moments.
Ramdhan is now looking to the governor of California to grant his mother clemency so she can come home. “I haven’t had a Mother’s Day with my mom in more than a decade,” he says “If Gov. Brown is looking to reduce California’s prison population, he should release my mother. It makes no sense to keep her locked up in this condition.”
If you would like to sign a petition to show support for Patricia Wright, you can get more information on the Change.Org website.
Photo Credit: © Gina Sanders – Fotolia.com
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