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Is Charles Manson in Prison?

Charles Manson is one of the most infamous criminals in American history. As the cult leader of the “Manson Family”, he orchestrated the brutal murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others in Los Angeles in 1969. Manson believed the murders would spark an apocalyptic race war that he called “Helter Skelter”.

Although Manson himself did not physically commit the murders, he was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for directing his followers. He was originally sentenced to death, but after California abolished the death penalty in 1972, his sentence was commuted to life in prison.

So is Charles Manson still in prison after all these years? Let’s take a look at his story and find out.

Manson’s Early Life and Crimes

Charles Manson was born in 1934 and had a very troubled childhood. His mother was a teenager and prostitute who did not take care of him properly. Manson started committing crimes at a young age and spent half of his first 32 years in prison.

After being released from prison in 1967, Manson moved to San Francisco and attracted a group of followers. He preached his alarming philosophies about an upcoming race war to them. By 1968, he and his followers had moved to the Spahn Ranch near Los Angeles.

Here is a brief timeline of Manson’s most notorious crimes:

July 1969Followers murder Gary Hinman at Manson’s request
August 9-10, 1969Followers murder Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger, Steven Parent, and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca
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As you can see, Manson orchestrated some horrendous crimes in the summer of 1969. But what happened to him after he was caught?

Manson’s Trial and Sentencing

Manson and three of his followers – Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten – went on trial in June 1970. The female defendants acted in bizarre ways, carving X’s into their foreheads or shaving their heads to look like Manson.

In January 1971, the jury found Manson and the three women guilty on multiple counts of first-degree murder. Initially, they were all sentenced to death. However, Manson and the others got a reprieve in 1972 when the California Supreme Court abolished capital punishment. As a result, their death sentences were commuted to life in prison.

Manson’s Time in Prison

After his death sentence was commuted, Charles Manson was sent to California’s Corcoran State Prison to serve out his life sentence. There were no possibilities of parole for him, so it was understood he would die behind bars.

Manson did have some disciplinary issues in his early years in prison. In 1984, for example, he was sent temporarily to solitary confinement for starting a fire and possessing a weapon.

However, in his later years, Manson seemed to resign himself to prison life. Here are some key details about his time behind bars:

  • Occupied himself with songwriting, granting interviews, and corresponding with followers
  • Married follower Afton Elaine Burton in 2014 (marriage license expired before wedding)
  • Was caught with a cellphone in 2009 and had privileges taken away
  • Received over 100 disciplinary violations including possession of a weapon, threatening staff, and having contraband
  • Was denied parole 12 times during his incarceration

So despite some incidents, Charles Manson largely adapted to being incarcerated and lived out his remaining years in the California penal system.

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Manson’s Death in 2017

On November 19, 2017, Charles Manson died of natural causes at age 83 at a hospital in Bakersfield, California. He had been seriously ill and was transported from prison earlier that year for emergency treatment.

With Manson’s death, his horrific saga finally came to an end. The infamous cult leader spent nearly 50 years behind bars and died at California’s Corcoran State Prison as prisoner B-33920.

Manson’s body was cremated after his death, and the Kern County Coroner’s Office retained the ashes. Some speculated that Manson’s ashes might become morbid souvenirs or artifacts among collectors of serial killer memorabilia. However, as of today, his ashes have not been dispersed or claimed.

So Charles Manson did indeed spend the rest of his life incarcerated for his terrible crimes. He evaded execution via California’s ban on capital punishment but faced justice through decades in some of the state’s toughest prisons.

Related Questions

Where is Charles Manson buried?

Charles Manson was cremated after his death in a California hospital in 2017. His ashes are currently being held by the Kern County Coroner’s Office and have not been scattered or claimed. No burial site or grave exists for the notorious cult leader.

How did Charles Manson die?

In November 2017, Charles Manson died of natural causes at age 83. He had been hospitalized in Bakersfield, California due to serious illness. Manson suffered from heart failure and colon cancer in his final years. He died from cardiac arrest resulting from his poor health.

How long was Charles Manson in prison?

In total, Charles Manson spent over 46 years incarcerated in the California prison system. He was originally arrested in 1969 for his role in the Tate-LaBianca murders. Although sentenced to death, his changed to a life term when capital punishment was briefly outlawed. He spent his remaining decades behind bars until his death in 2017.

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Is anyone in the Manson Family still in jail?

A few members of Charles Manson’s cult “family” remain imprisoned for their roles in the 1969 murders. Notorious members Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel are both incarcerated at the California Institution for Women. Bobby Beausoleil, convicted in the Gary Hinman murder, is also still in prison. Most other members have been released.

Where are the Manson murder houses today?

The Manson Family’s most gruesome murders occurred at 10050 Cielo Drive and 3301 Waverly Drive in Los Angeles in 1969. 10050 Cielo Drive was demolished in 1994. A new mansion was built on the land and the street address changed. 3301 Waverly Drive still exists but has been remodeled. Both sites remain privately owned.

What were Charles Manson’s last words?

Charles Manson’s last known words were: “Money, money. Beatles, money, money.” They had little meaning but likely referenced the Manson Family’s bizarre motive that The Beatles were sending them secret messages telling them to start a race war. Manson made the cryptic remark to a friend days before entering his final hospital stay.


In conclusion, Charles Manson did indeed die in a California prison in 2017 after spending over four decades incarcerated. Considered one of the most infamous figures in criminal history, he directed the brutal Tate-LaBianca murders but avoided execution. Manson spent most of his life behind bars after being convicted for multiple murders. Despite his cult following and fascination as a criminal figure, he died a prisoner identified only by his inmate number. Manson’s cremated remains are still being held by authorities, bringing an anticlimactic end to his dark legacy.

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We are dedicated to exploring the intricacies of prison life and justice reform through firsthand experiences and expert insights.

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Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

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