Victim and Survivor Rights

Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & Services

Formed in 1988, the mission of CDCR’s Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & Services (OVSRS) is to give crime victims and their families a voice. The formation of the office has laid the groundwork for enforcing victims’ rights and providing services. OVSRS maintains a comprehensive victim services program and establishes justice practices to ensure crime victims and survivors are afforded the utmost respect in exercising their legal rights. To this end, OVSRS is responsible for providing information, notification, restitution, outreach, training, referral and support services to crime victims and their next of kin. Additional information specific to victims services available pertaining to the parole suitability hearing process may also be found at the OVSRS Parole Hearing information website.

Victim’s Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy’s Law

The voters passed the “Victim’s Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy’s Law” on November 4, 2008. Marsy’s Law changes the constitution of California (§ 28, Article I) to provide a general Victims’ Bill of Rights during criminal, juvenile and parole matters. Marsy’s Law changes CA Penal Code Section 3041.5 and 3043 to expand victims’ rights in parole proceedings for prisoners sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. It applies to all hearings for the purpose of setting, postponing, or rescinding of life inmate parole dates.

A view of the full copy of the text of the Victim’s Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy’s Law (Proposition 9) is available from the California Secretary of State.

Victim Registration

If you are a victim of a crime and would like to register with the Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & Services to receive notifications regarding attendance at parole consideration hearings or notification concerning future hearings please complete a Request for Victims Services application.

You may contact the Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & Services during normal business hours at their toll-free telephone number 1-877-256-OVSS (6877), by Email or at their mailing address below:

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & Services
P.O. Box 942883
Sacramento, CA 94283-0001

Victim Rights in life prisoner hearings:

  • Expands the definition of “victim” related to who can attend a hearing to any victim of any felony crimes, or crimes against the person committed by the inmate;
  • Allows victims to attend hearings without being asked questions by the prisoner or the prisoner’s attorney, (includes the victim, the victim’s next of kin, family members and representatives);
  • Expands the scope of persons entitled to a stenographic recording of the proceedings;
  • Requires the Board of Parole Hearings (Board), when determining whether to release an inmate on parole, to consider the entire and uninterrupted statements of the victims;
  • Requires the Board, when denying parole to consider the victim’s safety, among other circumstances, in determining the length of the denial period;
  • Upon request, requires the Board to send notice to victims, and victim’s next of kin where the victim died, 90 days prior to any hearing to review or consider the parole suitability or the setting of a parole date; and to confirm the date, time and place of the hearing no later than 14 days prior to the hearing date;
  • Expands the scope of persons allowed to act as victim representatives at parole hearings, and allows representatives to make a statement even when the victim, or victim’s next of kin, also makes a statement;
  • Victims will be noticed and may submit written statements concerning an inmate’s request for advancement of his/her hearing date;
  • Allows victims, victim’s next of kin and their representatives to make statements which reasonably express their views concerning the inmate, including, but not limited to the crimes committed, the effect of the crimes on the victim and the victim’s family, and the inmate’s suitability for parole; and
  • Leaves intact other victim’s rights including but not limited to the Condit-Nolan Public Participation in Parole Act of 1984.

Request Hearing Transcript

Within approximately 30 days upon completion of a parole suitability hearing before the Board, a stenographic record (transcript) of the hearing will be available upon request. To obtain a copy of the Parole Suitability hearing proceeding, please visit our Request for Parole Suitability Hearing Transcript page.