PENNSYLVANIA BASIC BILL OF RIGHTS FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME
- To receive basic information on the services available
- To be notified of significant criminal justice actions and proceedings
- To be accompanied to all criminal justice proceedings by an advocate or family member
- To submit prior comment on the potential reduction or dismissal of a charge or change in a plea when a personal injury crime or burglary is involved
- To have prior comment on sentencing decisions to include the submission of a victim impact statement
- To be restored to the pre-crime economic status through restitution, compensation through the Crime Victims Compensation Program and the expeditious return of property
- To be given the opportunity to provide prior comment on, and receive notice of, post-sentencing release decisions involving an offender who is sentenced to a state correctional institution when a personal injury crime is involved
- To receive notice of the release of an offender from a local correctional facility and immediate notice of the escape of such offender in cases involving personal injury
- To receive immediate notice of the release of an offender on bail from a local correctional facility when the offender either violates a protection from abuse order or commits a personal injury crime against a victim protected by the order
- To receive notice when an offender is transferred from a state correctional institution to a mental health facility and of the discharge, transfer or escape of the offender from the mental health facility
- To have assistance in the preparation of, submission of and follow-up on victim compensation claims
ADDITIONAL STATUTORY RIGHTS
To be present at trials, including murder trials, if the prohibition of their presence is based on whether or not the victim will provide input during the sentencing phase of the proceeding (Act 28 of 1997); and
To be present at executions providing the victim has registered with and been selected by the Victim Advocate (Act 80 of 1998).
PENNSYLVANIA BILL OF RIGHTS FOR VICTIMS OF JUVENILE CRIME
Senate Bill 1224 (SB1224) Amends Pennsylvania Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights to give victims of juvenile crime the same rights as victims of adult criminals. Under the bill of rights, victims of juvenile offenders have the right to:
- Receive basic information concerning services available to crime victims
- Be notified of significant court proceedings
- Be accompanied at court proceedings by an advocate or family member
- Submit a written or oral impact statement for the court’s consideration
- Receive assistance when filing claims for restitution and compensation
- Be notified of the final disposition of their case
- Be notified of and have the opportunity to provide written objections to the proposed release or transfer of an adjudicated delinquent contrary to a previous court order or placement plan
- Provide oral or written comment at a review hearing
- Be notified of the termination of the juvenile court’s jurisdictionSB 1224 also makes significant changes to Pennsylvania’s Crime Victims Compensation Program. Victims of hit-and-run accidents and vehicular homicide are now eligible to receive compensation. It also requires adjudicated delinquents to pay a $15 penalty that will go toward the crime victims’ compensation program – the first time that juvenile offenders have been required to contribute to the fund – and raises the penalty for adult offenders from $30 to $40.
PENNSYLVANIA VICTIMS’ RIGHTS AFTER SENTENCING
OFFICE OF THE VICTIM ADVOCATE (OVA)
In March of 1995, the Governor of Pennsylvania signed into law Act 8 of 1995, the Victim Advocate Law. The Office of the Victim Advocate is an independent office housed in the Board of Probation and Parole and is responsible for representing the rights and interests of crime victims before the Board of Probation and Parole and the Department of Corrections. The Victim Advocate has the responsibility and authority to petition the Board, at the request of the victim, to deny parole and to set special conditions of parole.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS (DOC)
Upon receiving a state sentence, the inmate is usually transported to the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill for classification. After classification, they are sent to a specific institution which can best meet their identified security and programmatic needs. The DOC operates twenty-four (24) correctional institutions and fifteen (15) community correctional centers throughout the state.
PENNSYLVANIA BOARD OF PROBATION AND PAROLE (PBPP)
The Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole has the authority to grant or deny parole for all inmates sentenced to a maximum term of two or more years in prison. In Pennsylvania most offenders receive a minimum and maximum sentence and, by law, are required to serve the entire minimum sentence before being eligible for parole. The PBPP is responsible for the supervision of these offenders upon release, and for the duration of their maximum sentence.
Victims of crime in Pennsylvania have the following post sentencing rights:
- To receive notice of all post sentencing release decisions, including work release, educational release, furlough, parole, pardon or community corrections placement. *You must be registered with the Statewide Automated Victim Information Notification (SAVIN) program. This can be done through the OVA or District Attorney’s office.
- To receive immediate notice of an escape of an offender from a state correctional facility or county prison. *You must be registered with the SAVIN program.
- To receive notice and provide input on an inmate’s applications for commutations and pardons. *You must be registered with the SAVIN program.
- To submit prior oral or written comment on post sentencing release decisions including work release, educational release, furlough, parole, pardon or community corrections placement. *This can be done through the OVA.
- To receive notice of a commitment of the offender to a mental health facility from a state correction institution and of the discharge, transfer or escape of the offender from the mental health facility. *You must be registered with SAVIN.
- To have the OVA petition the PBPP to deny parole or set conditions of parole
Office of the Victim Advocate (SAVIN)
Department of Corrections
PO Box 598
Camp Hill PA 17001
Office of the Victim Advocate
Board of Probation and Parole
Riverfront Office Center
1101 South Front Street
Harrisburg PA 17104
Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office
Northampton County District Attorney’s Office
- To complete the registration form(s)
- To keep the Office of the Victim Advocate informed of your current address and phone number
Your comments may be oral or written and may include the physical, financial and emotional impact of the crime on you and your family, the anticipated risk of continued physical, financial and emotional impact, the advisability of release and conditions of release and any other issues of concern to you.
Your involvement with the Office of the Victim Advocate is confidential. Your actual comments, whether oral or written, are deemed confidential by law.