Victim/Survivor Education & Resources
PJW provides education and resources to victims/survivors and their family members who are interested in participating in California's parole hearing process.
Welcome to Parole Justice Works
We are here for you.
What is this website about?
PJW’s website promotes knowledge and empowerment for victims/survivors by providing information about California’s parole process, including laws and policies, victim/survivor rights, personal testimonies, and support resources. Each parole hearing and each participant are unique, so not all of the information on our website will apply to every participant or every hearing.
Our work is led by people with lived experience, and we seek to present information in a way that is sensitive to people’s needs, without assuming we know what is best for any person. Our website will evolve as directly impacted people continue to share their perspectives and experiences with us.
To ensure we are best serving California’s victim/survivor community, we welcome input and feedback here.
Why do we use the term “victim/survivor”?
Throughout this website we use the words “victim/survivor” when we refer to people who have been impacted by crime. A person harmed by crime has the right to use any words that feel right for them when discussing their identity and experience. While some people do not identify with the word “victim,” others do. The word “victim” also has an important legal meaning and is used throughout the law and legal processes. Some people choose to identify as a “survivor” because they feel it better reflects their experience. Some people choose more personal words, such as “Joe’s mom” or “Ana’s sister.”
Victims/survivors might hear people use the acronym VNOK (pronounced “vee-knock”) to broadly refer to anyone who is related to the victim, was harmed by the crime, or may participate in the parole process. But this term is often used incorrectly. VNOK stands for “victim’s next of kin,” which has a very specific definition under the law, and does NOT refer to everyone impacted by the crime.
There are many words that people harmed by crime might feel apply to them, and we encourage people to identify in whatever way feels most appropriate.
As we continue to develop the materials on this website, we will include more information and first-hand experiences from victims/survivors who have attended parole hearings, as well as perspectives from the Board, people who have been released through the parole hearing process, attorneys, and victim/survivor support persons.
How to Participate in the Parole Hearing Process
Learn options for participating in the parole hearing process, who can participate, and what victims/survivors need to do to participate.