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Many of the 230,000 women and girls in U.S. jails and prisons were abuse survivors before they entered the system. Research for The Appeal shows that at least 30 percent of those serving time on murder or manslaughter charges were protecting themselves or a loved one from physical or sexual violence.
Justine van der Leun
The state has recommended the release of 10 women at a coronavirus-ravaged prison—but Governor John Bel Edwards still hasn’t signed the paperwork.
In 1996, Michele Benjamin was sentenced to life without parole for killing a man who she said solicited her for sex and menaced her with a weapon in New Orleans. A Supreme Court decision led her to be re-sentenced to life with a chance at parole in 2016. Today, a parole hearing brings the possibility of freedom.
Josie Duffy Rice