Represent!

Politics, government and public life for Southern California

California corrections office helps victims navigate parole hearings and release of perpetrators

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California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s main job is to keep criminals behind bars. But at some point, most of those inmates are released.

The agency’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services informs victims before that happens. To highlight that work, California prison officials are holding a ceremony Monday morning in honor of Victims Rights Week.

Corrections department spokesman Bill Sessa says the agency's responsibilities also include notifying victims if a prisoner gets a parole hearing.

"The board of parole hearings takes the feelings or the consequences of the crime on the victims as one serious factor in deciding whether on not someone should be released," Sessa said. "Those victims can testify in the parole hearing and our office of victim’s services helps them do that."

If the inmate is paroled, prison officials tell victims well in advance. In some instances, victims are entitled to request that a parolee be restricted from living nearby – or even released to a county further away.

The Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services also helps victims collect restitution from inmates.

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