This site will provide you with valuable information if you are the victim of or witness to a crime and the offender was sentenced to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS AS A VICTIM?
WHAT HAPPENS TO SOMEONE ONCE CONVICTED OF A CRIME?
California Law (Penal Code Section 679.02) establishes the statutory rights
of victims and witnesses of crime
The direct victim of a crime, parent or guardian of a minor victim, victim's next of kin, witness, or concerned citizen may request to be notified of the death, release, placement in a re-entry facility, or escape of the offender(s) who committed the crime. Requests MUST be made in writing either by sending a letter or by completing and submitting a CDCR Form 1707 (Rev. 04/08), Request for Victim Services , to CDCR's Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & Services. If you move, you MUST notify CDCR of your new address. Note: Information about victims, victim's next of kin, witnesses or concerned citizens is kept confidential and will not be made available to the inmate unless consent is given by the individual requesting notification. For additional information please contact the Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & Services toll free at 1-877-256-OVSS (6877).
You may request input into the following special conditions of parole:
If you are interested in requesting special conditions of parole, complete and submit a CDCR Form 1707 (Rev. 04/08), Request for Victim Services. Please note that requests made for special conditions of parole will be considered by the CDCR Division of Parole Operations prior to the time of the inmate’s release. For additional information, please contact the Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & Services toll free at 1-877-256-OVSS (6877).
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 Victim Assistance Coordinator at the BPH. If you move you MUST notify the BPH of your new address.
Upon receipt of the request, the BPH 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.
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. Further information may be obtained by contacting the BPH.
California Law (Penal Code Section 3043)
There are two types of restitution that a defendant can be ordered to pay by the sentencing court:
Restitution fines are paid to the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB), Victims Restitution Fund. The VCGCB, Victims of Crime Program is the state agency responsible for administering the Victims Restitution Fund. The restitution fund is for victims of violent crimes who suffer out-of-pocket losses and who may be eligible to apply for financial reimbursement. The fund reimburses eligible victims for lost wages or support, medical or psychological counseling expenses and other related costs. For further information, please contact the VCGCB 1-800-777-9229.
While incarcerated, inmates with court ordered restitution fines have a specified percentage deducted from their wages and other trust account deposits for these fines.
A defendant may also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim. This type of restitution is referred to as a direct order. CDCR automatically deducts a specified percentage from the wages and other trust account deposits of incarcerated offenders with direct orders. It is important that a victim with a direct order notify the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services of their address so that money collected on their behalf can be sent to them.
California Law (Penal Code Section 2085.5)
Most offenders are sentenced to California state prison for a set amount of time under the Determinate Sentencing Law. Once this time is served, the inmate is released and placed under parole supervision in the community.
Those offenders convicted of the most serious crimes such as murder, attempted murder, and kidnapping for ransom are sentenced under the Indeterminate Sentencing Law (ISL) and will serve a term of life with possiblity of parole.
Offenders sentenced to a life term with the possibility of parole cannot be released on parole until the BPH determines that they are ready to be returned to society.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER SENTENCING?
Once sentenced to CDCR, the inmate is sent to a reception center for processing and transfer to an institution. Processing includes computing a classification score based on such factors as length of sentence, stability, education, employment, and behavior during a prior incarceration.
The classification score determines the type of facility where the inmate will be housed. This score may change over time based on individual behavior and specific case factors. Because of this change, an inmate may be transferred to a different institution.
Note: CDCR does not notify victims when a transfer takes place.
Education and vocational programs are available to inmates. An inmate may obtain a GED or a certificate of completion. These programs also qualify an inmate for work time credits and continued participation is dependent on the offender’s good behavior.
When an inmate has completed his/her sentence, he/she is released to parole supervision.
Currently, the law requires that parolees be returned to the county that was the last legal residence of the offender prior to his or her incarceration. A parolee may be returned to another county if that would be in the best interests of the public. Such decisions are made on an individual basis and are reviewed carefully.
All parolees are assigned a parole agent. Parole offices are located throughout California. All parolees are required to follow conditions of parole, which may include special conditions, such as no contact with the victim and/or his/her family; and/or not to reside within 35 miles of the victim’s actual residence if the crime was a violent felony. Requests must be made in writing by the victim or witness and will be considered by the Parole Division prior to the inmate’s release.
HOW DOES A PAROLEE GET OFF PAROLE?
Inmates sentenced under the Determinate Sentencing Law serve up to a maximum of four years on parole. After being on parole for 12 months, parole staff review the case. Based on the behavior of the parolee, the parole agent may recommend release from parole supervision.
All life sentences, except life without possibility of parole, have a minimum eligible parole date. Parole is not automatic for inmates with life terms, and the BPH determines if and when the offender is ready for parole.
If paroled, offenders with life terms who committed their crimes prior to November 11, 1978 must complete three years in a row of successful parole before the BPH will review their case for discharge. By law, offenders with life terms serve no more than five years on parole. Those who committed their crime after November 11, 1978 will remain on parole for life unless the BPH grants a discharge after five years for second degree murder and seven years for first degree murder.
Parole may be revoked if a parolee is found to be in violation of the conditions of parole or if a new crime is committed. The parole agent can recommend that the offender be returned to custody. A revocation hearing will be conducted by the parole hearing authority to determine if a violation has occurred, whether the violator will be returned to custody and if so, for how long. Violators can be returned to custody for up to 12 months at a time.