COVID-19 Pandemic Resources
PA State Inmate Releases
Pennsylvania leaders and citizens are working tirelessly to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 virus across the state. This includes the consideration of inmates incarcerated in state correctional facilities who are close to their potential parole date, as it reduces the risk of spread inside the institutions.
According to the Pennsylvania’s Office of Victim Advocate (OVA), their team “is working to ensure that no cases with identified victims are being considered for release. This is a time consuming but worthwhile process.”
The team is cross-referencing multiple lists to ensure that offenders are excluded in cases where a victim is associated, including cases of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and includes a history of PFA or domestic violence.
PA County Inmate Releases
According to OVA, “inmates housed in county correctional facilities are not subject to the Governor’s reprieve order; however, at the direction of the Supreme Court – each county is required to review cases in their own facilities to determine if there are inmates appropriate for release. Because each county is different, you should reach out to your district attorney to see what the process is for any early releases.”
Register for inmate release, transfer, and escape notifications.
For more information, please visit the OVA Website: https://www.ova.pa.gov
We understand that the release of inmates can be cause for concern for many of the victims and their families who we serve. Please know that we are here for you and will continue to provide advocacy and support services to ensure that you and your family are safe throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Please contact your assigned Family Advocate with any questions or concerns:
Clare Henderson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christin Salazar: email@example.com
Felicia Castellanos: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jackie Shinners: email@example.com
Shannon Barnett: firstname.lastname@example.org
Safety Planning for Victims & Families
Planning in the home with your Child(ren):
- Obtain an Order of Protection (PFA) or Protection from Sexual Violence and Intimidation (PSVI) (you will need a police report), keep it with you at all times. Make sure that your local police department also has a copy of the order.
- Call the police if the offender violates the Order of Protection.
- Teach your children when and how to call 9-1-1.
- Develop a code word or signal with your children, friends, neighbors, and even your Mission Kids Family Advocate, so they can call for help. Make sure that they know not to tell others what the code word means.
- Keep in frequent and regular communication with a trusted adult outside of the home (friend, family member, neighbor, coworker, Mission Kids Family Advocate, etc.). Let them know your code word as well as what to do if they do not hear from you in a period (previously agreed upon with that person).
- In the house: identify a room you and your child(ren) can go to if the perpetrator arrives to the home, or when they’re afraid and something they can think about when they’re scared.
- Help your child make a list of people that they are comfortable talking with and expressing themselves to.
- Reach out to your Mission Kids Family Advocate for support, referrals, or resources.
- Enroll your child in a counseling program. Ask your family advocate for help with a referral. Many of our Mental Health partners are continuing to provide therapy through tele-health appointments during the Pandemic.
- Make an extra copy of the house/car keys and keep them in a secret place, preferably outside your home.
- Change the locks on doors and windows.
- Change your phone number.
- Install security mechanisms, such as window locks, better lighting, window locks.
- In rural areas where only the mailbox may be visible from the street, cover the box with brightly colored paper or paint so that police can more easily locate the home.
Tips for having tough conversations with your child during this time:
- Ensure your child(ren) that you want to protect them and that you want everyone to be safe, so you have to come up with a plan to use in case of emergencies.
- When talking about these plans with your child, use phrases such as “We’re practicing what to do in an emergency”.
- Let your child know that what’s happening is not their fault that their perpetrator was released, and that they didn’t cause it.
- Let them know how much you love them and that you support them no matter what.
Sources: Crime Victims Assistance Center, National Domestic Violence Hotline
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office released the following information about the County’s Victim Service Agencies who are continuing to provide therapy, advocacy, resources, and support for the community throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic: