What is Life Support Alliance

We are an advocacy group working for change in the present parole board policy of finding life-term prisoners almost universally unsuitable for parole for the specious, vague and unreasonable factors typically cited at hearings. Time and again long-serving lifers, who have successfully programmed, often for decades, have availed themselves of the pitifully few self-help programs offered by the CDCR and have, in spite of, not because of, the system managed to rehabilitate themselves and are denied the parole due them under state law.

These repeated denials are due to a biased parole board, composed of former law enforcement and victims' rights advocates, who bow to political pressure and ideology. Using boiler-plate, unsupportable reasons they deny parole dates to thousands of prisoners who would be found suitable by an unbiased look at the facts. Although the parole rate appears to be increasing it is still woefully below what logic and fact should support.

Though these repeated and unreasonable denials are themselves an affront to justice, what makes this policy particularly egregious today, and the reason more and more citizens not directly tied to lifers are becoming increasingly concerned, is the monetary cost, pure dollars and cents, of California's out of control prison system.  As state Senators and Assembly members seek any possible way to save money toward the state's staggering deficits we purpose to show them a reasonable, safe and immediately
  Life Support Alliance
(Pelican Bay State Prison)
As We Progress

In early 2012 Life Support Alliance began a new phase, when Victims of Injustice/Life Support Alliance Education Fund (VOI/LSAEF) was created as a 501 (c) 3, non-profit tax deductible entity. At the same time, VOI/LSAEF, (hereafter referred to as LSAEF) also assumed publication of California Lifer Newsletter (CLN), the seminal publication on lifer matters for the past six years.

CLN, founded by Don “Doc” Miller, a former lifer and physician, now paralegal and champion of the lifer cause, is published bi-monthly and mailed to a subscriber list that includes not only lifers, but attorneys, judges, legislators and government officials as well. The 60-70 page periodical features analysis of recent legal cases relevant to lifer parole and rulings and is an important in-their-hands legal resource for lifers, as well as a report on political, legislative and regulatory news within the CDCR and State.

The primary purposes of LSAEF include:

1.To educate the public and legislators on the characteristics of the term to lifer prisoner cohort relative to the risk of recidivism and violence from this population.

2.To provide education to the families of life term inmates in dealing with the prison and parole system.

3.To educate and assist life term prisoners in rehabilitation practices needed to facilitate their finding of suitability to parole by the parole board.

4.To identify compelling cases of wrongfully convicted felons and assist in seeing to have their wrongful convictions overturned, freeing the innocent.

Our Board of Directors includes:

Vanessa Nelson-Sloane, Director and CEO of LSAEF and co-founder of the original Life Support Alliance (LSA) advocacy group.  A veteran of more than a dozen years in the prison reform movement and past member of several Inmate Family Councils, she is responsible for the editorial content of both CLN and Lifer-Line, the monthly free publication of LSA.  She is married to a former, recently paroled life-term prisoner and the aunt of another lifer.

Gail Brown, Associate Director of LSAEF and co-founder of LSA, chairman of the Inmate Family Council at California State Prison, Solano and a 15 year advocate for lifers and their families. Gail’s solid history as a knowledgeable and genuine advocate for lifers and her numerous contacts within the community makes her an invaluable resource for LSAEF. Gail’s husband is a lifer, now in his 38th year of incarceration.

Victor Abrunzo, retired attorney, member of the Inmate Family Council at California Institute for Women (CIW) and long-time benefactor of Crossroads, the Southern California Reentry facility for women. Victor is a member of the CDCR’s Gender Responsive Strategies committee and C-ROB (California Rehabilitation Oversight Board).

Christine Lally, social justice and rehabilitation advocate with a special interest in continuing rehabilitation programs after release. Christine has served the legislature in a variety of posts, including a stint on the staff of former Lt. Governor John Garamendi.

Bob Driscoll, retired engineer, parent of a lifer and source extroardinaire on the DOM and Title 15. Bob is former member of several Inmate Family Councils and a tireless prisoner advocate.

David Sloane, paroled lifer. Released in early 2013 after 23+ years as a life term inmate David brings a unique perspective to the challenges of promoting the cause of lifers and helps us focus on what is truly important to lifers and how best to engage them.

Donald “Doc” Miller, the originator of CLN and former lifer, who is now Editor Emeritus of the publication.  
Aayliah Muhammad, community organizer for Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and All of Us or None. Ms. Muhammad, a former prisoner, is well-versed in recognizing and serving the needs and concerns of prisoner family members.
John Dannenberg, former lifer and paralegal. John writes legal analysis for CLN and is well known to lifers as the subject of the iconic In Re: Dannenberg case. His knowledge and insight is an invaluable resource for LSAEF and CLN.
Keith Chandler, former life-term prisoner, paralegal and current law student.  Keith won his freedom through court action and has since become a well-known and respected champion for lifers.  
available way to both save money and make a significant impact on the prison overcrowding issue that threatens to make the state a candidate for federal takeover of the prison system.

Parole suitable lifers;  It is that simple!

Lifers have the lowest recidivism rate of any group of prisoners, making them the safest group of prisoners to parole. Most have proven their suitability with decades of successful programming, mentoring and self-improvement. Paroling lifers is not an early release, in most cases it is an overdue release.

Lifers are among the most rapidly aging population in our prisons and as such cost the most to incarcerate. This trend will only increase, as more and more lifers pass 50 years of age. The CDCR estimates the yearly cost to incarcerate the average prisoner, age 37, at about $51,000. For those prisoners over 50, which comprises about 20% of the lifer population, the yearly cost zooms to $98,000 and for those past 60 it rockets to over $115,000 per prisoner, per year. No wonder the CDCR budget is the fastest increasing segment of the state budget.

Life Support Alliance believes it is imperative the legislature understand and act on the following facts:

  • Lifers are the safest prisoner population to parole.

  • Lifers are the most expensive prisoner population to continue to imprison.

  • The Board of Parole Hearings, for reasons rooted more in politics than law or public safety, has historically and repeatedly denied parole to suitably rehabilitated lifers.

This does not even address the difference the release of 1500 prisoners would make in the overcrowding issue currently plaguing the state. The conclusion is obvious: it is time to give serious inspection to the job the Board of Parole Hearings is, or in this case, is not doing and require the BPH to do the job it was meant to do, fairly evaluate and parole lifers.

​In light of the critical financial situation in the state right now we feel it is clear California can no longer simply refuse to parole suitable lifers—vengeance as public policy is an indulgence the state can no longer financially afford. 
And we need your help and support to continue the fight.

Public Safety 
​Fiscal Responsibility

We are a non profit 
organization and 
accept donations to 
help defray the operating costs of producing seminars, our  travel throughout the state,  printed 
materials for 
legislative educational 
efforts and 
maintaining our website. Volunteers are welcome to assist 
in research, 
legislative visits, letter campaigns and various other periodical services.

In-kind donations 
are appreciated.

Donations may be sent via check or money order or through Pay-Pal. 
For details please go to the Contact Us link at the top of
 this page. 
Fighting for the lives and freedom of California Lifers.
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