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Inmate Apology Bank

What is the Inmate Apology Bank?

The Inmate Apology Bank was created for victims of crime who have an interest in receiving an apology letter from the offender in their case (if the offender is a state inmate or state parolee) .  Victims often wonder whether or not their offender has taken responsibility and/or is sorry for their criminal actions.  Likewise, inmates sometimes seek to put into words acceptance of fault, responsibility, and/or pain caused by their actions.  They may wish to write of letter of apology to the victim(s) of their crime.  However, if they are incarcerated in a state prison, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has strict rules prohibiting inmates from directly contacting their victims.  This apology program allows for the letters to be written and received without violating these rules.

 

Does writing an apology letter benefit an inmate? 

The only benefit an apology letter would have for an inmate would be personal growth and insight.  Writing an apology letter does NOT affect his/her conditions of incarceration, nor will it shorten their sentence or affect their release date. 

 

What does OVA do with the apology letters that they receive from inmates?

Once we receive an apology letter, the letter is reviewed for appropriate content. We want to make sure that the letter does not contain any threats or anything harassing in nature.  If the letter is appropriate, we then check to see if we have a victim who has registered to receive an apology letter.   If there are no victims registered to receive an apology letter, we file the letter in our Inmate Apology Bank in case there is interest shown in the future.  If we do have a victim registered to receive an apology letter, we will call that victim to verify that they still want to receive the apology letter.  If so, the letter is mailed to them for their review.   

 

Will the inmate know that I read the apology letter?

The only way an inmate would know if you read the apology letter is if you instructed our office to notify that inmate.  If you would wish to have any additional contact with the inmate through correspondence, you can be referred to the Victim Offender Dialogue Program.

 

How do victims of state inmates register to indicate their interest in receiving an apology letter?

Victims can register with the Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA) to be notified if an apology letter is submitted by their offender.  They can contact OVA at 1-800-322-4472 or ra-ovainfo@pa.gov .    OVA will not forward an apology letter to a victim unless we are 100% certain that they wish to receive one. 

 

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