*The women of Life Without Parole are real women. This is their story.
At a parole hearing at the California Institution for Women in Chino in 1999, Helen Broker must fight to regain her freedom. She’s been jailed for killing the abusive husband who beat her, threatened to rape her daughter, and who pointed a pistol at her.
She’s a member of a prison support group, CWAV (Convicted Women Against Violence). Her fellow group members are all women who have killed the husbands or boyfriends who beat them. According to the criminal justice system, they’re all guilty of second degree murder. But were they just defending themselves against perpetrators of domestic violence?
Life Without Parole is the story of Helen Broker and her fellow inmates who have all trod down this heartbreaking path. Where is justice for them?
Playwright Warren John Doody based his narrative on the research of the late Dr. Elizabeth Dermody Leonard, who interviewed over forty incarcerated women in the course of her research. Much of the play’s text consists of verbatim transcriptions of the women’s stories. Some scenes are re-enactments of actual events. Continue reading