Winnfred Wright, Convicted Calif. Child Abuser, Gets Tougher Parole Than Planned

Convicted Child Abuser Winnfred Wright to be Released from Calif. Prison on Supervised Parole
(AP Photo)

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (CBS/KPIX) California parole officials have reversed their decision to release a Marin County man convicted of neglecting and abusing his 12 children from prison without supervision.

Winnfred Wright , who was sentenced in March 2003 to 16 years and eight months after pleading guilty to six felony counts of child abuse, has served the minimum amount of time required for his sentence and is scheduled to be released from prison Monday, reports The San Francisco Chronicle.

However, Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian and state parole officials have been battling it out trying to decide whether the man who spearheaded a cult-like organization within his own family should be supervised or unsupervised upon his release.

In an effort to cut costs for struggling public agencies, state officials had planned to release Wright into a program for non-violent offenders where he would be unsupervised, says The San Francisco Chronicle.

Berberian complained that Wright, who was accused of abusing all 12 of his children between the ages of 19 months and 17 years of age, including the starvation death of his 19-month-old son, should be supervised and monitored by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, reports CBS affiliate KPIX.

Initially, Berberian's request was denied because Wright was not a violent offender, but after some debate state officials decided to modify the supervision level of Wright's release.

"Everyone is aware of the severe financial pressures that the state's public agencies are facing, but public safety needs have to be put ahead of potential short-term financial savings," Berberian said Tuesday after learning that the state had reversed its decision.

"The acknowledgment that Winnfred Wright's release required close parole supervision is the correct decision."

Wright fathered the 12 children with three female co-defendants he referred to as "The Family" with Wright being the "self anointed leader."

Under the terms of his release, Wright will not be allowed to contact any of his victims.