On Tuesday, progressive Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon moved to disband the Parole Division Bureau of Prosecution Support Operations, whose job it is to notify victims of crime when a parole hearing is scheduled for the perpetrator.
The George Soros-backed DA told members of the group that they will continue working through October, but that starting in November, there will not be "any forthcoming assignments."
As Los Angeles Magazine reports, Gascon said he felt it was "not appropriate" for prosecutors to inform victims and their families about their assailants' parole hearings.
His office argued that the task is better handled by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
"After consulting with victim experts, we do not believe this is a trauma-informed approach," Gascon's team told LA Mag. "Contacting victims and their next of kin can be very triggering, especially if they do not welcome the intrusion."
"We consulted with the CDCR and they have advised and confirmed that it is their responsibility to contact victims who have registered for notifications and provide information and support to those victims."
LA County Deputy DA Ryan Erlich took to Twitter to share his displeasure.
Gascon "has done a bunch of terrible things since Dec. 2020," he wrote. "But turning his back on the families of victims of violent crime is beyond callous."
"If he had EVER tried a homicide, he would know that we have a moral duty to, at least, support those folks at parole hearings."
The move comes just over a year after Gascon nixed a long-standing policy allowing prosecutors from the DA's office to attend parole hearings to argue against the early release of offenders.
Gascon's tenure as DA has been polarizing, with many calling out his soft-on-crime approach. Earlier this month, a campaign seeking to recall Gascon reached over 700,000 signatures, enough to proceed with an election.
It remains to be seen whether Gascon will go the way of progressive San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin, who was recently ousted via recall.
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