Woman arrested 396 times tells parole board she can change

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See subsequent coverage: Woman arrested 396 times will get treatment (again)

Is Shermain Miles a changed woman?

She has been arrested 396 times in Chicago since 1978, but she told the Illinois Prisoner Review Board on Tuesday that she deserves another shot at freedom, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Miles, 51, said she found God in prison and is now a role model for young inmates. “I don’t want to be a big monster,” she said.

But she also admitted she refused to take medication for mental health issues in prison. And “her compliant tone instantly changed,” the story says, when she was asked about a recent arrest. Miles was accused of chasing an alderman through Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood last summer. She ended up in prison for a possible parole violation in a previous robbery case.

Miles explained the alderman incident by saying, “He lied on me and said I pushed him.”

Prisoner Review Board chairman Adam Monreal told Miles at the hearing that he planned to inquire about her eligibility for a program of intense supervision, possibly in a community setting, under the supervision of a specialized mental health court. “If we can provide her with the opportunity to get back on the right track,” he told the newspaper, “then that’s what we’re here for.”

A day later, prosecutors in Cook County, Ill., revealed in a court hearing that Miles was in the mental health program last year and flunked out, the Chicago Sun-Times reports in a separate story. Assistant State’s Attorney Kevin Sobczyk told a judge presiding in the alderman assault case that Miles shouldn’t get a second chance in the program.

Updated June 11 to include link to subsequent coverage.

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