By Joe Orlando, CDCR Public Information Officer
Office of Public and Employee Communications

If you are the victim of a crime and your offender was sentenced to state prison or committed to the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) , do you know where to turn to find out about your rights?

Do you know who to contact to find out about an offender? When his or her parole hearing is being held? Were you awarded court-ordered restitution?

From left, Nolice Edwards, Chief, Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services, and Katie James, Assistant Chief.

From left, Nolice Edwards, Chief, Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services, and Katie James, Assistant Chief.

In California, you can contact the CDCR Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS).

“At OVSRS, our mission is to provide  victim services, from notification to restitution and general referral services to other victim providing agencies,” said OVSRS Chief Nolice Edwards. “We are constantly educating the public about the services victims are entitled to and to let them know they have a place to turn.”

OVSRS provides services through the Request for Victim Services form CDCR 1707.

“The 1707 is vital for victims of crime to fill out and request services as this will start the process of ensuring their constitutional rights,” Edwards explained. “If your offender has been sentenced to CDCR, you simply need to go online and access this form which will then start the process to ensure you get the services you desire.”

Edwards said the 1707 form is now being made available electronically so you will be able to request OVSRS assistance on your computer, smartphone, or other electronic device. Making the 1707 form available electronically will assist victims requesting services on their own time, making the request available to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In 2015, the OVSRS staff assisted 2,062 victims participating in the parole hearing process. Through a federal grant, the department was able to help approximately 500 victims and provided $80,000 to reimburse victims and their families for out-of-pocket expenses incurred to attend and participate in the Board of Parole Hearing process.

OVSRS also has an analyst, Carolyn Calhoun, who deals specifically with the victim services for the DJJ.

“It’s my job to assist victims whose offender is housed with DJJ,” Calhoun said. “This includes mailing notifications, restitution, and helping them navigate the DJJ system.”

Carolyn Calhoun

Carolyn Calhoun

Meg Weber, Restitution Services Unit Manager with OVSRS, said, “Restitution is a victim’s guaranteed right and is ordered by the court for any economic losses suffered as a result of the crime.”

In 2015, a total of $22,124,109 was collected in victim restitution and fines from adults and juvenile offenders.

OVSRS representatives regularly visit counties throughout the state to explain what they do and where victims can turn at the county and state level.

OVSRS located almost 2,397 victims whose whereabouts were previously unknown and distributed to them more than $2,251,352  collected from inmates.

In a constant effort to inform victims of their rights, OVSRS has now partnered with DMV offices throughout the state to post flyers with information regarding unclaimed restitution. If you were the victim of a crime or you are looking for restitution information, you can call 1-877-256-6877.

For information on the Crime Victim Bill of Rights contact:

https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/BOPH/marsys_law.html

To learn more about OVSRS go to:

https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Victim_Services/index.html

CDCR’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services will observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (which runs April 10-16) with a Moment of Silence and Commemoration Ceremony on Tuesday, April 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fremont Park, 1515 Q St. in Sacramento.