|Victims, who are registered with the Department, are notified of parole hearings 30 days prior to a hearing date, and have a right to attend the hearing to personally state their testimony to the Parole Board. Victims may also attend the hearing by videoconferencing at the Charleston or Spartanburg Remote Videoconferencing Site. Victims may voice their opposition to parole by submitting letters or petitions, or by calling the Office of Victim Services. State law provides that the primary victim (or the next of kin if the victim is deceased or is a minor) may submit a videotape of their opposition in lieu of attending the hearing in person.
It is very important for victims to notify SCDPPPS in the event of an address change.
Parole Hearings are conducted at the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services at 2221 Devine Street, Columbia, South Carolina. Victims, or anyone opposing parole, should come to this location. Directions to Parole/Pardon Hearings.
The inmate, as well as his or her family members and supporters, will be located at one of the South Carolina Department of Corrections institutions. The Parole Board communicates with them via videoconferencing. If you elect to attend the Charleston or Spartanuburg Remote Videoconferencing Site, you must contact the Office of Victim Services at least two weeks in advance to register. At that time you will be given directions to the site.
If you plan to attend a hearing to oppose parole, you should contact Missy Rodgers, Assistant Director of Victim Services, or Sandra McCray, Victim Services Liaison, at 1-888-551-4118 (toll free) or 803-734-9367 if calling from the Columbia area. On the designated hearing date, you should arrive at the specified time indicated on your letter.
The Parole Board will allow up to five victims and witnesses to appear regarding an inmate's potential parole. Limitations or exceptions to this guideline will be considered on an individual basis. In fairness to other victims' families that may want to attend, we ask that you please be respectful of this limit.
Upon arrival, you will be greeted by Victim Services staff, who will explain the hearing process to you and answer any questions you may have. The hearings are public hearings by law so please be aware that an audiotape of each hearing is being made.
Once you enter the hearing room, the Parole Board Chairman will ask you to state your name for the record. It is helpful if you also state your relationship to the victim, or the name of the organization that you are representing. After you have informed the Board of your reasons for opposition, you will be escorted back into the waiting area, and a member of the Victim Services staff will advise you of the Board's decision. If parole is denied, the inmate can be heard again in one or two years - depending on the date and classification of the offense. If parole is granted, you will be advised of the conditions of parole.
The national Office for Victims of Crime (a division of the Department of Justice) has created a video entitled "Victim Issues for Parole Boards." This 17-minute video shares with the viewer the perspectives of victims and parole board members about the value of victim participation in the parole decision-making process. It features examples from California, Massachusetts, and South Carolina, where special efforts have been made to increase victim participation. It demonstrates that the inmate is not the only person affected by the parole board decisions and depicts an actual parole board hearing. For more information contact Carol Woodard (firstname.lastname@example.org). Or to order a free copy, contact the Office of Victims of Crime at 1-800-627-6872 or visit their website: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc.