FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 20, 2021
CONTACT: San Francisco Public Defender’s Office – (628)249-7946 – Valerie.Ibarra@sfgov.org
Statement from the Office of the San Francisco Public Defender – In Support of Tare Beltran Chuc’s Parole Grant
In response to public statements made by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and others who have expressed opposition to the Board of Parole’s decision to grant parole to our client, Tare Beltran Chuc, we stand in support of the Board’s decision.
Let us be clear: the Board of Parole does not make decisions to release people lightly. The Board of Parole is tasked with the specific mandate to make release decisions for people serving indeterminate life sentences. In recent years, on average less than 20% of people appearing before the Parole Board are granted release, which should give pause to anyone who objects to the BPH’s decision to grant parole. These grants then undergo an administrative and Gubernatorial review. Before being granted parole, a person incarcerated for a life-term must undergo mental health evaluations, multiple assessments, and an intensive hours-long hearing where two Board of Parole Hearing commissioners extensively question the individual being considered. Many, like Mr. Beltran Chuc, go through this process more than once over the years after they become eligible to be considered.
A study from the Stanford Criminal Justice Center noted that the rate of re-offense for people who have been granted parole is exceedingly low — of the 860 people convicted of murder and subsequently granted parole over a 15 year period, only 0.5% went on to commit another felony, and none resulted in a subsequent life term.
It is particularly notable that the Parole Board has now granted Mr. Beltran Chuc parole on two different occasions, even in spite of strong opposition. Over the years, Mr. Beltran Chuc has participated in thousands of hours of programs while incarcerated, numerous substance abuse, victim impact, and anti-violence courses, and has been certified by Marin County Probation Department as a Batterer’s Program Facilitator. In addition, he picked up five vocations, completed his GED, and is working towards his Associate Degree in prison. The Board received numerous letters in support of Mr. Beltran Chuc’s parole, including from San Quentin teachers and staff.
While Mr. Beltran Chuc and our office recognize that nothing can restore the life lost or ever fully repair the harm done, he has made tremendous progress over the past decade. Our office stands ready to support him in ensuring his successful reentry.
We are sensitive to the pain and fear related to intimate partner violence, and violence more generally, as most of our clients have endured it all their lives in myriad forms. We are committed to continuing to support efforts to undo the harms of this violence, not through single-minded punishment and retribution, but through challenging the conditions that give rise to a society in which safety is tenuous for the most marginalized, including in particular for women of color. Incarceration does not make us safe, and the idea that any human being is beyond repair is an inhumane one.