he state Board of Prison Terms in 2004 recommended that Tramel, by then an Episcopal deacon, be paroled. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reversed the board, saying that Tramel still posed a risk.
By last October, Tramel had been ordained a priest, and the parole board again recommended his release. The governor must rule by March 24.
For Schwarzenegger, who has stressed the aim of rehabilitation in the prison system, the case poses difficult questions: How can redemption be measured? If becoming a priest in prison isn’t a sign of rehabilitation, then what is?
His story is pretty striking but this part strikes me.
At his parole hearing the next year, he said that he wanted to enter the Episcopal ministry — an aim requiring years of study, extensive psychological testing and rigorous interviews. Skeptical, officials told him to try earning a college degree first.
By 1998, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business from Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, N.J. By a vote of the faculty, he was admitted to Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, one of 11 Episcopal seminaries in the U.S.
“Any skepticism I may have had dissolved,” said the Rev. Louis Weil, a liturgical-studies scholar who became Tramel’s faculty advisor and now describes him as “like a son to me in many ways.”
Over the next five years, Weil and other faculty members spent hours instructing Tramel by phone. Students taped lectures, paid for Tramel’s books and drove to Vacaville to help him with his studies. Without regular access to a computer, he wrote his 85-page master’s thesis sitting on his prison cot. He dedicated it to Michael Stephenson.
This sounds to me like a reformed man… so Arnold what purpose does his being in jail serve?