California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to hold a meeting to consider new regulations for parole hearings that would burden crime victims
SAN LUIS OBISPO — The CDCR’s Board of Parole Hearings is proposing a new policy requiring crime victims to notify the Board of their intent to participate in a parole hearing at least 30 days before the hearing date.
This policy is especially problematic due to recent changes in parole eligibility for prison inmates. In the last 10 years, beginning with AB 109, continuing with Prop. 57 and SB 260, among others, the law has changed drastically regarding the time inmates spend incarcerated and when they are eligible for parole. As it stands, it’s already extremely difficult to determine when an individual inmate may become eligible for a parole hearing.
Additionally, there is no firmly established timeframe in which the CDCR informs a District Attorney of a parole hearing date, who would, in turn, notify the victims that an inmate has an upcoming hearing.
Once the CDCR does notify the District Attorney, great efforts are made to locate and inform victims of the potential parole hearing date. Often it takes significant time and resources to locate victims, particularly in older cases. Smaller counties are especially burdened by this task – though it’s not easy even for large counties.
A 30-day timetable is far too short to accommodate the task of locating victims and preparing them for the re-traumatization of appearing before the person who caused them such immeasurable grief.
“This new policy hurts the people who most deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion – the victims of violent crime,” said District Attorney Dan Dow. “Crime victims do not volunteer for their role. They didn’t want to be part of the crime. To expect crime victims to track the changes in the Board’s administrative procedures or other laws that benefit only inmates is simply unfair and unjust.”
A representative from the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, along with several other District Attorney’s Offices, is attending the online hearing by the Board of Parole Hearings Aug. 16 at 1 p.m. to voice the objection to the proposed regulations.
If this regulation is passed and implemented, the Board will be on record as disregarding the rights of crime victims and ignoring the objectives of Marsy’s Law, also known as the Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights, as passed by California voters in 2008.
“We encourage the Board of Parole Hearings to reject this regulation which would require victims to suffer more injustice than they already have,” Dow further stated.
Please contact Assistant District Attorney Eric J. Dobroth at 805.781.5819 with any questions.
Visit the website for more information on the Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights.