Pennsylvania House Passes Victim Advocate Parole Law

By Tony Romeo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The state House has passed and sent to the Senate a bill to ensure that victims or their representatives have a voice when someone who committed a violent crime against them is up for parole.

The legislation was prompted by controversy earlier this year when a former Penn professor, who pled guilty to manslaughter in the death if his wife, was set to be released.

Rafael Robb’s parole was rescinded after an outcry that highlighted the fact that when a prisoner convicted of violent crime is up for parole, victims of their crime or their representatives currently have no opportunity to appear before the state Board of Probation and Parole. Now the House has passed a bill, sponsored by Montgomery County Republican Mike Vereb, that would change that.

“For the last seven months, our Victim Advocate and parole board have been working on such a process. We’re going to make it law. You know, unfortunately, as we know, it takes tragedy to create law sometimes, and that’s exactly what’s happened here. A lot of forces united to give our victims a voice.”

The bill now goes to the Senate, where a similar bill passed the Judiciary Committee Tuesday. A spokesman for the Senate Majority leader says he expects a bill in some form will reach the governor this spring.

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