The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS) will begin notifying victims if their offender intends to contract with any person or entity for the sale of the story of their crime.
Assembly Bill 538 passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, JR. in October 2015, requires any person or entity that contracts with a criminal offender for the sale of the offender’s story of a specified crime for which the offender was convicted and under CDCR’s jurisdiction to inform CDCR’s OVSRS.
“This bill fills a much needed gap in notification services where OVSRS-staff can reach out and contact victims on file with CDCR to advise of a contract in place,” Nolice Edwards, Chief of CDCR’s OVRSR said. “The victims will receive the dignity they deserve by being the first to hear of the contract and the possible intent to sell the story. They will be able to take the steps they need to protect their family and their interest.”
The specified felonies for which notifications will be made include; murder, attempted murder, mayhem, rape and other specified sexual assault crimes, kidnapping and any felonies punishable by life in prison or death.
Several years ago Missy Avila was murdered by two acquaintances who were subsequently convicted and sentenced to state prison. One of the two co-defendants appeared on various media outlets promoting and profiting from her personal memoirs and her version of the murder.
The appearances caused outrage to both the victims’ family and other victims throughout the country. In response, Assembly Member Nora Campos (D-San Jose), along with support at the national level, created legislation to protect and ensure a continuum of notification rights to victims to lessen their exposure of reading or viewing their graphic and emotional personal cases to the media.
Currently, OVSRS delivers more than 20,000 paper and electronic notifications to victims annually to advise of their offender’s release to parole/probation, death and/or escape.
CDCR has approximately 112,900 inmates in its 35 institutions. With the changing criminal justice landscape in California affecting offenders and victims every day, it’s crucial victims have their updated information on file to be informed of their rights and to have a voice in the criminal justice system.
To receive notification, victims must register by completing a CDCR form 1707, Request for Victim Services.
If you are a victim of an offender who is serving time in a CDCR facility, you can contact OVSRS toll-free at (877) 256-6877 for assistance in registering for notifications and offender status updates.
For more information about CDCR’s OVSRS, visit: firstname.lastname@example.org