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New law gives voice to crime victims at parole hearings

Victims of crime can now have their say at state parole hearings.  Governor Tom Corbett signed into law House Bill 492 amending the Crime Victims Act to allow v...

Victims of crime can now have their say at state parole hearings.  Governor Tom Corbett signed into law House Bill 492 amending the Crime Victims Act to allow victims to testify before the state Parole Board before it decides whether to release an inmate from prison.

“We have an obligation to honor the rights and sometimes the memories of the people who have suffered from crime,” Corbett said. “That’s why we needed this bill, to make sure that Pennsylvania leads the nation when it comes to acknowledging that just as criminals have rights, victims have them as well, and we are not trading one for the other.”

Under Pennsylvania law, anyone convicted of a crime who has served their minimum prison sentence may apply for parole every year.

Victims or their representatives can now testify either in person or through electronic means at a parole hearing.  In the past, a victim could submit a written statement or speak to staff members who would submit a summary of the victim’s comments.

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