17 Jan 2011

California parole officials reverse decision not to monitor family cult child killer after he is released from prison

San Francisco Chronicle - November 18, 2010

Paroled abuser Winnfred Wright will be monitored

Jaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff Writer

State parole officials confirmed Wednesday that a man convicted of multiple counts of child abuse stemming from the cult-like organization he headed will be supervised when he is released on parole next week.

Officials had planned to release Winnfred Wright from prison without supervision, under a state program started in January that's designed to reduce the cost of monitoring nonviolent parolees.

Wright is scheduled for release on Monday. He served the minimum time of a 16-year prison sentence for his 2003 conviction on six felony counts of child abuse related to the starvation death of his 19-month-old son and allegations involving 12 more victims, all his own children.

Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian had complained to state officials that Wright - the self-anointed leader of the Family - should be supervised and ordered to stay away from the victims in the case. But parole officials told him he was entitled to be released without supervision because he was not convicted of a violent offense.

Berberian said he was told by state authorities about the decision to monitor Wright on Tuesday, but a prison spokeswoman said later that day that no ruling had been made.

On Wednesday, a different prison spokeswoman confirmed that Wright will be monitored when he is released on parole. "We're going to monitor him at this time," said Cassandra Hockenson, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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