CLEVELAND - A new state law that has already passed the Ohio Senate would provide increased notification to families and crime victims when inmates are paroled.
Senate Bill 160, also called Roberta's Law would required the Ohio Parole Board to seek out and notify crime victims and family members when inmates are scheduled for parole, and provide an opportunity to speak at parole board hearings.
Under current Ohio law, family members and victims are notified only if they have proactively signed up for notification-- something many fail to do.
The law is named after 15-year-old Roberta Francis, who was murdered in 1974. Paul Raymond Saultz was paroled in 2004, but the Francis family was never notified.
Saultz returned to prison two years later after molesting another girl and is scheduled for an upcoming parole hearing in January.
An exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation revealed that parole in Ohio is rising in the last two years and supporters of Roberta's Law say it underscored the need for increased notification.
State Sen. Kevin Bacon sponsored the legislation and said the report revealed the need for "victims or family members to have the right to attend parole hearings and make their wishes known."
The legislation is currently awaiting a vote in the Ohio House of Representatives.
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