HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Virginia Senator Mark Obenshain’s parole bill passed unanimously in the Senate this week and is expected to pass in the House. The bill requires victims to be notified when offenders are released.
Obenshain says back in March, the parole board was violating state laws by not notifying family members or commonwealth’s attorneys before considering parole or releasing offenders.
The bill says that the prisoner can be released no sooner than 21 business days after notification to the commonwealth’s attorney. The notice must also be given to the victim in the case.
“Even if many, many years have passed, it’s gonna be a shock to many victims of crimes to see the perpetrator in the community, and sometimes precautions need to be taken. Some people are gonna want to move,” said Obenshain.
If the bill passes, the law will go into effect on July 1. The senator says his main concern was victims of abuse.
“This legislation dealing with the parole board is long overdue. It is just another measure to make sure that victims are protected and that more sunlight is shone on the parole process,” Obenshain said.
Obenshain says a member of the Virginia House of Delegates is now carrying a companion to this bill.