Ms. Karen Narita has been in prison for more than 26 years for a murder committed by her abusive husband. She takes full responsibility for participation in the crime and feels tremendous remorse about the victim’s tragic death. Ms. Narita is now a 48-year-old mother and grandmother who poses no risk of future harm if she is released.
Ms. Narita has been found eligible for parole by the California Board of Parole Hearings. This is the second time that the Board has found that she poses no risk to public safety - she was previously found suitable for parole in 2004.
The parole decision now goes to Governor Brown. Please urge the governor to uphold Ms. Narita's parole. Thank you.
- California Governor
I urge you to uphold the Board of Parole Hearings’ (“the Board”) decision to release Karen Narita on parole. Penal Code §3041 governs the granting of parole. This statute establishes a presumption of parole suitability within subsection (a) which states the Board “shall normally set a parole date. . . after the inmate’s minimum eligible parole date.” It is estimated 1,000 or more cases on this subject have been filed in the State’s backlogged courts. The cost of this litigation to taxpayers is in the tens of million of dollars annually.
Ms. Narita has been in prison for more than 26 years for a murder committed by her abusive husband. She is now a 48-year-old mother and grandmother who poses no risk of future harm if she is released. The Board is bound by California Code of Regulations, Title 15, § 2402 to deny parole if a life-term prisoner poses “an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.” This is the second time that the Board has found that Ms. Narita poses no such risk; she was previously found suitable for parole in 2004.
Evaluations by prison psychologists repeatedly conclude that Ms. Narita poses a minimal risk to public safety upon release and that she does not have a propensity toward violence. When her husband killed an associate and implicated Karen, she was convicted and sentenced to life in prison although she did not play an active role in the actual killing. However, Ms. Narita takes full responsibility for participation in the crime and feels tremendous remorse about the victim’s tragic death.
Ms. Narita continues to make excellent use of her time in prison, participating in programming that has increased her maturity and given her great insight into her state of mind at the time of the crime. During her incarceration she has earned her GED, participated in numerous self-help groups including Alcoholics Anonymous, and attended battered women’s support groups, where she has learned to heal from her traumatic past. She has worked as a clerk since 1986 and has received commendations for her work performance and positive attitude. She has been accepted into Crossroads Transitional Program and has solid job offers at Action Committee for Women in Prison and the Partnership for Reentry Program of the Los Angeles Archdiocese.
Karen Narita has been screened into the Habeas Project, a collaborative effort to implement California Penal Code § 1473.5, allowing survivors of domestic violence to challenge their convictions in court if expert testimony on battering and its effects was not a part of their trials or pleas. However, time and community resources could be saved if Ms. Narita is paroled as per the ruling of the Board. Please allow the Board’s decision to stand.
California Coalition for Women Prisoners and Justice Now started this petition with a single signature, and now has 329 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.