National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is April 19-25, and the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles marked the week by emphasizing the importance of crime victims having their voices heard at upcoming parole and pardon hearings.
Parole and pardon hearings in Alabama were suspended due to the national and statewide health emergency in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus. Hearings will resume the week of May 18 (the first hearings will take place on Tuesday, May 19) after completion of a 30-day notification period, required under Alabama law, for victims of crimes, families, officials, crime victim representatives and other interested parties.
The governor’s seventh Supplemental State of Emergency Proclamation, issued on April 13, 2020, states all provisions in Alabama law allowing for individuals to appear in person to Board of Pardons and Paroles hearings are suspended. The Board is urging citizens not to appear at Board offices on May 19 when hearings resume, but to submit statements in writing for inclusion in the hearing records.
Crime victims, victim’s representatives, victim’s advocates, officials or law enforcement officers can submit their statements referencing the inmate’s name and AIS number in one of the following ways:
Alabama Bureau of Pardons & Paroles
ATTN: Victim Services
100 Capitol Commerce Boulevard, Suite 310
Montgomery, AL 36117
Those calling with statements are asked not to leave statements on voice mail but to leave their names and phone numbers and a staff member will return the call.
President Ronald Reagan, in 1981, proclaimed National Victims’ Rights Week to acknowledge the abuse and trauma that victims of crime often go through and to recognize the work of advocates who support victims across the country. Prosecutors, advocacy groups and others hold victim vigils statewide to honor victims of violent crimes. Due to COVID-19, many are holding virtual vigils this week.
During recent years, the public has expressed its concerns that offender rights should be balanced by victim rights. This has been demonstrated by passage of a number of laws on behalf of victims which impact the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles. Victims of violent crimes and families of children who have been abused are notified prior to an inmate being considered by the Board for a pardon or parole. The victim’s right to be present at the scheduled hearing and to express their concerns in person and in writing to the Board is provided by Alabama law. Written information may be sent to the Board via U.S. mail or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bureau of Pardons and Paroles offers victims and victims’ families a place they can turn to for answers before and after the pardon or parole hearing. The victim service officer’s goal is to assist victims so they can fully participate in the pardon and parole hearing process. Understanding their rights as a victim of crime is important for the victims and families.
For more information, see our Victim Services flyer.