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COSTA MESA — A bill introduced by state Sen.Tom Harman (R-Costa Mesa) and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown this week seeks to bring crime-victim notification into the 21st century.
Senate Bill 852 takes effect immediately, and enables the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to update various persons affected by violent offenders about the attackers’ status through email, along with the traditional phone call and certified mail.
“California’s victim-notification system was antiquated and with this bill, victim notification will be brought into the computer age,” Harman said in a news release. “It will make it much easier and quicker for victims to receive critical information on an offender’s status.”
Proposition 8, passed in 1982 and amended in 2008, requires the Board of Parole Hearings — upon request by a witness, victim or victim’s next of kin — to notify when a prisoner is up for review from the parole board, of any crime committed by the prisoner while in custody, or when he or she is scheduled to be executed.
The previous law only allowed such notifications through the mail or phone. The department received a federal grant to develop an automated victim notification system that would streamline the process.