Grant Commutation for Incarcerated Survivor Janetta Leiva!
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Janetta Leiva is a 48-year-old Native American woman (Yokut and Yaqui Nations) and a survivor of intimate partner violence diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. She has been incarcerated for over 25 years. She was criminalized for actions taken while she was suffering from untreated paranoid schizophrenia and postpartum depression, both compounded by her experience of physical and emotional abuse. She was sentenced to 25 years to life.
Janetta is currently housed in the Enhanced Outpatient Unit (EOP) at the California Institution for Women (CIW). The EOP is the largest mental health unit at CIW and has been the site of an ongoing suicide crisis at the prison. For over twenty years, no one incarcerated in the EOP has been granted parole. The parole board appears to be conflating psychiatric disability with dangerousness, often disregarding the work people have done to achieve the most mental health stability possible in a chaotic and traumatizing prison environment. This discrimination incarcerates people with psychiatric disabilities indefinitely, leaving people caged without care until death.
Janetta is one of the people trapped in prison because of this discrimination. She was denied parole in 2015 and fears, because of her psychiatric disability, she will be left to die in prison. While she is formally eligible for parole, Janetta is in the impossible position of needing to convince the parole board that she does not have a psychiatric disability in order to achieve parole. She is currently applying for a commutation of her sentence from Governor Brown, with the goal of being released to a community-based program capable of providing her with support and mental healthcare services.
We urge the Governor’s office to commute Janetta’s sentence to time-served and release her to the community-based support that will allow her to live with dignity and care.
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