Pheffer: Increase Notification For Crime Victims
As New Yorkers prepare to observe Crime Victims Week, April 10-16, 2005, Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer, chair of the Assembly Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee, announced that the state Assembly is expected to act on a package of bills aimed at increasing notification to crime victims of their rights throughout the judicial and parole process, making the Crime Victims Board more responsive and efficient, and expanding the services provided by the Board.
“Crime Victims should not be victimized by the lack of notification regarding their rights throughout judicial and parole proceedings. Current law lacks a seamless notification process for victims and places the burden of opportunity on the backs of the victims. It is the duty of the State to ensure that victims be aware of proceedings and eliminate barriers,” said Pheffer.
Pheffer announced that among the legislation is a bill that she introduced A.714-B, which would enhance Crime Victims awareness of their rights. This bill would: Require the Crime Victims Board to include information on the VINE program in the Crime Victim pamphlet. The VINE program enables a crime victim to call a toll-free number to: obtain the status of an inmate in custody of the State; enable a victim to update their contact information in order to be kept aware of parole proceedings in cases of indeterminate sentences; require District Attorneys to consult with victims of violent felony offenses on the disposition of the case and require DA’s to notify crime victims within sixty-days of the final disposition of a case; and require the Department of Corrections to notify District Attorneys of the county where an inmate was prosecuted of such inmate’s release from State custody.
This bill was formulated in response to an incident where a parent of a crime victim was not notified of the parole of an inmate. “Although, we are unable to relieve the pain and suffering of many victims, we must ensure that laws and programs are in place to address the needs of victims and their families,” said Pheffer.