Senate passes bill to create new victim notification system

From STAFF REPORTS

MONTGOMERY – The Senate passed Senate Bill 47 May 25. Senator Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, sponsored the bill that will create the Implementation Task Force to enforce a statewide automated victim notification system.

“This bill has been of vital importance to me this legislative session,” said Senator Ward in a press release. “It completely overhauls Alabama’s victim notification law and will provide for a safer, more effective judicial system.”

According to the press release, Senate Bill 47 will allow victims to submit contact information to an automated system that will notify them of information regarding their attackers. The Board of Patrons and Paroles must notify victims who submit contact information at least 30 days before the board’s meeting.

The Implementation Task Force will regulate notifications, and victims may choose the delivery method of their notifications. The system is automated to provide maximum protection for victims, the release stated.

“Too often victims are neglected in the criminal justice system, or perceived as just evidence, when in reality their lives are forever shaken by acts of violence,” said Miriam Shehane, founder and executive director of Victims of Crime and Leniency, in a press release. “SB 47 will substantially improve our judicial system and give victims the input they deserve to participate fully in parole hearings.”

In the press release, Shehane said she appreciates Senator Ward, legislators, prosecutors and Parole Board officials who have worked hard to pass the bill and increase Alabama’s overall safety.

According to the release, Senate Bill 47 will move to the House for final passage.