L.A. District Attorney George Gascón prohibited his prosecutors from opposing parole or attending parole hearings in a reform meant to encourage the release of those with low risk of committing another crime. The LAist wrote about the reform, quoting the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement’s Rev. Najuma Smith-Pollard.
As a faith leader and a mother who lost a son to murder, Smith-Pollard said she favors the opportunity for forgiveness.
“People have the right to be mad, so I’m not taking that away from anyone who’s mad and angry,” said Smith-Pollard, the pastor of Word of Encouragement Community Church in South L.A. “From my vantage point, I am centered in the space of redemption.”
She plans to attend the parole hearings for her son’s killer, who’s serving an eight years-to-life sentence in Nevada. But she doesn’t expect to argue to keep him in prison for decades.
“Fifty years doesn’t change my reality,” Smith-Pollard said. “My anger doesn’t go away with time. My anger goes away because I do whatever healing work I need to do.”
She says her healing will come in part from seeing the person who murdered her son turn his life around. “Seeing another Black man go to prison … does not bring me joy,” Smith-Pollard said.