California has more than 25,000 men and women serving life sentences with the possibility of parole. Most are there for first- and second-degree murder.
For years, their chances of winning parole were slim. But in the last five years things have changed. Record numbers of so-called lifers have been paroled. While past governors overturned up to 95 percent of parole recommendations, Gov. Jerry Brown is allowing 75 percent of them to move forward.
James Ward, 64, stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death in 1982 and has spent half his life in prison. Earlier this year, he was found suitable for release by the State Parole Board. The governor had until Nov. 5 to reverse Ward's parole.
In July 2014, I spoke with Ward about how he felt about the possibility of parole.
Ward's parole was one of the minority of cases to be reversed by Brown. Inmates whose parole is reversed can appeal to the courts, which sometimes allows the parole to move forward.