Marci Kitchen may go free as early as 2021

Fortuna woman convicted of vehicular manslaughter serving sentence in re-entry program in San Diego

Marcia Kitchen, left, listens to the proceedings at her sentencing hearing in September 2018. Kitchen may be up for parole as early as next year, despite being sentenced to eight years for fatally striking 14-year-olds Kiya Kitchen, her daughter, and Faith Tsarnas, her daughter’s friend. (Shaun Walker — The Times-Standard)
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A local woman who was sentenced to eight years in prison for fatally striking two teenage girls, including her daughter, with her vehicle is currently being held in a facility helping her prepare for re-entry back into society as early as May 2021.

Marcia Kitchen, 42, is being held at the Community Transitional Reentry Program in San Diego and will be eligible for parole starting September 2020, according to information on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s public inmate locator.

Terri Hardy, a spokesperson for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, wrote in an email that the earliest date Kitchen would be released is in May 2021. Kitchen was transferred to the San Diego facility on May 17, she said.

Kitchen was sentenced to eight years in prison for vehicular manslaughter and DUI without gross negligence with a special enhancement for fleeing the scene after striking 14-year-olds Kiya Kitchen — her daughter — and Faith Tsarnas, her daughter’s friend. Kitchen later tried to recruit her son to help her cover up the hit and run.

The San Diego facility, where Kitchen is currently being held after serving time in the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla beginning last October, is open to female offenders during the last two years of their incarceration.

“The program allows women to work, attend religious services and go to school outside the facility,” Hardy wrote. “The programs help offenders address substance abuse issues, build job skills and build support systems essential for a successful future.”

The program is run by nonprofit WestCare, which operates a variety of programs in states across the country for substance use, mental health, domestic violence, sexual assault and homelessness.

The San Diego facility run by WestCare offers up to 82 women access to domestic violence and substance abuse classes, help with developing educational and job skills, connections to health care and education, and help with family reunification and restitution payments, according to the WestCare website.

WestCare and the county District Attorney’s Office could not be reached by publication time.

When asked how Kitchen could end up in a place for women with less than two years left on their sentence, Hardy wrote inmates can earn time credits in prison for good behavior and completing various programs related to education and rehabilitation.

That speeds up how quickly an inmate can get out of prison with most inmates serving only about half of their sentence. Kitchen currently has about 106 days of credit, Hardy wrote.

“The sentencing court gave her 33 days of pre-sentence credits for time served while awaiting sentencing and an additional 42 days of post-sentence and vested credits for time served while awaiting transport to prison,” Hardy wrote.

On top of the credits she gets for every day she serves, Kitchen has also earned 31 days of credit through completing programs related to education and rehabilitation, she wrote.

Sonia Waraich can be reached at 707-441-0506.

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