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Getting Free

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1989
7 pages
Data on the use of victim impact statements at parole hearings were obtained through interviews with relevant personnel in 34 States.
An extensive search of statutory law was undertaken to identify those jurisdictions in which one or more of the following procedures is permitted or mandated: victim attendance at post-conviction proceedings, the submission of oral or written commentary at parole hearings, advance victim notification of scheduled parole consideration hearings, or victim notification of the parole board's action on an inmate's application for release. A parole board administrator or member in each identified State was interviewed by phone or in person. Interviewees were asked to discuss the passage of victim's rights legislation in the State, describe the range of options for victim participation in parole decisionmaking, estimate the extent to which victims use these opportunities, and comment on the effect of victim's rights legislation on parole board policies and operations. The findings reveal the variability of the process by which victims are notified of and allowed to participate at release-consideration hearings. They suggest that these processes do not always reflect the best interests of the parties involved.

Date Published: January 1, 1989