Parole in Pennsylvania - Victim Input Program
Pennsylvania Board of Probation & Parole
The Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, as an integral part of the criminal justice system in Pennsylvania, has the paroling jurisdiction and parole supervision responsibility of offenders sentenced to a maximum prison sentence of two years or more. Most offenders receive a minimum and maximum sentence and those under the paroling jurisdiction of the Board are required by law to serve the entire minimum sentence before being released on parole.
Role of the Victim Input
Since the enactment of Act 134 on October 9, 1986, the Board’s parole release decision-making process provides an opportunity for the victim to express "his (her) opinion concerning the release of the defendant" when sentenced to a term of imprisonment, and the victim’s input is taken into consideration through the parole release process.
The Victim's Voice Law
At the time of this enactment, victims were only permitted to provide a copy of their victim impact statement. Then, in September of 2013, a change took place that provided victims more rights when expressing their thoughts on the release of a state offender.
On September 1st, this new law went into effect to allow registered victims of crime in Pennsylvania to have another choice as to how they would like to provide their victim impact statement to the Parole Board. This law was named “The Victims’ Voice Law.” Victims, or their choice of a representative, now have the opportunity to speak directly to the Parole Board Members on how the crime committed impacted their lives. This was a major milestone in Pennsylvania for achieving justice for crime victims and it all started in Luzerne County.
This change began in Luzerne County when survivors Susan Hooper, Mary Curley, Gary Gregory and their family advocated for this change. Hooper and Curley are the sister and mother of deceased Robert Curley who was poisoned to death by his wife Joann Curley. They both fought tirelessly to be provided the same rights as offenders - the ability to tell their story in person to the people who will make a decision in their case. Mary has since passed away, but Susan continues their fight to improve victims' rights.
If you are a victim and would like to take advantage of this new change by presenting your testimony in-person to the Parole Board, please call the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office at 570-825-1674 to speak to a Victim / Witness Coordinator.