Victim & Survivor
Rights & Services
Parole Hearing Information
If you have questions, need more information about parole hearings, or have feedback about a hearing you attended call us toll free at:
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What is a parole hearing?
A parole hearing is a hearing to determine whether an inmate should be released on parole. Only inmates sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole receive parole hearings. An example of a life sentence with the possibility of parole is when an inmate is sentenced to serve a term of "15 years to life."
Inmates serving life sentences with the possibility of parole are automatically eligible for a parole hearing 13 months prior to their "minimum eligible parole date." An inmate's "minimum eligible parole date" is the earliest possible date they can be released, based on their sentence. Just because an inmate has been scheduled for a parole hearing does not mean he or she will be released on parole. The Board of Parole Hearings will determine whether inmates are suitable for parole. Inmates sentenced to life with the possibility of parole are not guaranteed to parole and can be held in prison for life.
Many inmates have several parole hearings before they are found suitable for release. Inmates serving a life sentence can be denied parole for 3, 5, 7, 10, or 15 years.
A life inmate may submit a written request to the BPH to advance his or her parole suitability hearing to an earlier date if there is a change in circumstances or new information. If you are the registered victim or victim's next of kin, the BPH will notice you by mail and include a copy of the BPH form 1045(B) which you may use to submit your written views and comments for consideration by the BPH. For more information, visit the BPH web page.
NOTE: The BPH 1045(B) form is NOT confidential and may be reviewed by the inmate and/or the inmate's attorney.
Who can attend a parole hearing?
Only victims, victims' next-of-kin, or immediate family members may attend parole hearings. One support person may accompany the victim or family member to the hearing. Support persons are not permitted to participate in the hearing. Victims and their families also may choose to designate someone to be their representative at the hearing who will speak on their behalf. Please be aware that many hearing rooms are relatively small and, therefore, the number of individuals allowed to attend the hearing may be limited.
How can I be notified of a parole hearing?
When requested, the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) will notify the victim/next of kin/immediate family member of the parole consideration hearing conducted for prisoners sentenced to life terms with the possibility of parole.
Requests MUST be made in writing or by calling the Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & Services (OVSRS). If you move you MUST notify OVSRS of your new address.
Upon receipt of the request, OVSRS will send you a Declaration form to complete and return stating that you are a victim/next of kin/immediate family member of the victim. Once the declaration is returned, your request will be kept on file and you will be notified in writing once the inmate is scheduled for a parole consideration hearing.
What do I do if I want to attend a parole hearing?
A victim may request through the BPH to appear before the hearing panel and make a statement. If you cannot attend the hearing but would like to make a statement, legal counsel may attend the hearing for you or you may submit a written statement, audiocassette or videocassette tape recording to the BPH. If you have questions about writing a statement please download our Victim Impact Statement Writing Guide .Further information may be obtained by contacting the Victim Services Coordinator.
NOTE: Impact statements must be submitted in English.
If you wish to attend the hearing you should call or write OVSRS at least two weeks before the hearing. This will give the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation enough time to clear you for entry into the correctional facility where the hearing will be held.
How do I request compensation for travel costs to a parole hearing?
As of May 2010, OVSRS has funds available through a federal grant which allows for a travel voucher, up to $100, to a limited number of victims for costs associated with travel to parole hearings. For information on how to apply for travel voucher contact OVSRS at 1-877-256-6877 or by email at email@example.com.
What do I do if I want to order a Parole Suitability Hearing transcript?
Crime victims can request transcripts of Parole Suitability Hearings by accessing the new web page at: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/BOPH/psh_transcript.html
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