CALIFORNIA—On Wednesday, July 13, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon and Deputy District Attorney Julianne Walker announced the victim’s service parole unit would be disbanded at the end of 2022.
Gascon said the notification system “bogs down,” their resources in a time that they are understaffed.
Greg Risling from the LA County District Attorney’s Office responded to Canyon News by explaining how the DA’s office supplies victims with a form that has the contact information on it for the California Department of Correction Representatives.
With this form, victims may choose to be notified when their assailant is up for parole.
“While a victim has a right to be notified, they also have a right not to be contacted,” Risling explained. He added that lawyers in the parole unit previously used victim services reps, paralegals, and Bureau of Investigations resources to contact victims and or next of kin for those requesting notification of parole hearings.
Risling indicated that victim experts informed them that contacting the victim or next of kin can be “triggering,” and actually cause more trauma from the unwelcome intrusion.
The response from the DA’s Office concluded with information on how the last administration already begun downsizing the parole unit.
On the webpage, cadem.org, under the Crime Survivors section, a list of victim’s services are as follows:
• Support victim-witness advocacy that provides therapeutic assistance, financial compensation, and support for comprehensive services for victims of crime; and,
• Monitor victim services in district attorney offices to ensure that victims are informed of progress of their cases, arraignments, or plea agreements, and when a perpetrator is released from custody.
According to the California Victim’s Compensation Board, on July 1, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a 2022-2023 budget that included an increase in [financial] benefits available for victims of crime and provides additional funding to trauma recovery centers across the state.