What’s wrong with California? Last week the state released an updated mug shot of Charles Manson for the world to ponder and pick on:

Manson, 74, is locked away in protective custody, according to Sabrina Johnson, a spokeswoman at Corcoran State Prison in Corcoran, about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Manson has his own cell. His exposure to prison neighbors that include mass killer Juan Corona and Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, is very limited, Johnson said.

Manson and the four “family” members’ death sentences were overturned during the 1970s, when the death penalty laws were ruled unconstitutional. He is quietly serving out his life sentence. Although he once frequently gave bombastic rants on national television, he hasn’t granted a media interview in years.

Manson receives a lot of mail, and many requests from people who want to visit him, Johnson said. He still occasionally sees a few people.
“Over the years, he’s taken some people off the visitor list and put them back on, ” Johnson said. “He has the same rights as any other prisoner.”

California must make it illegal for prisoners to be made into public spectacles.  Update the mug shots, but do not release them to the citizenry unless there is a specific, public, need to know.

What is the purpose of releasing a new Manson mug shot if not to titillate public itching and for tickling private fantasies?

Manson has been admired and honored enough through misaligned intentions — and to remind a whole new generation of his bloody, deadly, deeds — is to unfairly reward the sociopathic mentality with attention and fear instead of punishing it with wholesale ignoring and moral verisimilitude. 

His dead deserve better.


  1. It really is ridiculous that the photo was released. Did they even give a reason for its release other than just because?

  2. Gordon —
    California said it was “routine” to re-mug shoot inmates with long-term incarcerations — I get that — it’s important in a case of escape or ID in the prison… but why make those re-shoots public unless you are seeking publicity for, and attention from, your most vicious killers?

  3. Charlie IS looking old and sad. However, we make choices in life and then have consequences for those choices. Manson and those he was leading at the time of the murders took lives of others. Now they happen to be ageing and ill..in one case terminally. But they made a choice and the conseqence was to serve the remainder of their lives in prison. There is no reason to release any of them now. Many pass away in prison. And so will they.
    Had they made good choices, they would have had good consequences and a better life, free and out of prison. They did not.
    To me it is that simple. It should be a lesson. Good choices equal good consequences. Bad choices land you in prison where you may die. Best to make positive choices. But if not, take a good look at this man and the others that followed him. That’s what happens when you CHOOSE to kill.

  4. The man nightmares are made of. I hated him. He escaped death. No Californian of the right age will ever remember him as anything but a creepy killer.

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