Crime victims have needs, even after the offender is convicted.
“Post Conviction Issues” describes crime victim rights, how victims can get information, and steps that can be taken toward safety and recovery.
Crime victims have the right to receive notice of an offender’s release from a jail, detention facility, or Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) facility. Release notification after an offender has been sentenced is not automatic. Victims must request notification of an offender’s release from jail or prison. Notice will be given for release (including work release and extended furloughs), transfers to a less secure facility, and when an inmate escapes or dies.
Always make sure your contact information is up to date!
To receive notification from a county jail, victims should make their request in writing directly to the facility. The process of notification varies by county, so victims are encouraged to contact the jail to find out how to make a request.
Victims should also register with VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday), the automated service that notifies victims by phone and/or email when an offender is released.
If an offender later returns to custody, a victim must make a new request for notification, either to the facility or by re-registering with the VINE service. This applies even if the offender was out for only a short time.
Correctional Facility (Prison)
For release notification from a DOC facility (prison), victims should make a request through MN CHOICE, an online service. Victims will be notified of an offender’s transfer to a less secure facility, escape, death, and any subsequent releases if the offender re-enters the facility.
Through MN CHOICE, victims of predatory offenders may request to be given additional information and notification if the offender is eligible for a community notification risk level assignment. In addition, through CHOICE, victims can communicate with DOC personnel and provide input into the offender’s re-entry plan.
On Probation or Supervised Release
A release notice to a victim must include the offender’s conditions of release and the name of the offender’s supervising agent or agency. In addition, for DOC offenders on supervised release, the name of the supervising agent can be found on the “Offender Locator” page of the DOC Website.
Victims have a right to know the conditions of probation or supervised release. More specific information, like the offender’s address, place of employment, and psychological evaluation results will not be shared with the victim.
Victims have a right to know whether or not the offender is in compliance with probation or release conditions, however, they will not be automatically notified of noncompliance. Reports of noncompliance should be made to the supervising agent or probation officer. Criminal conduct should be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Not all violations of probation or release conditions will result in a return to jail or prison.
Some offenders on probation will be “unsupervised,” meaning no specific agent is assigned to that offender, and some offenders are supervised by the court. To communicate concerns regarding that offender, contact the probation or community corrections agency, or contact the prosecutor for assistance in bringing possible probation violations to the attention of the court.
Offenders can request that their supervision be transferred to another state. This commonly happens if a person from another state commits a crime in Minnesota. To determine if the offender’s supervision has been transferred to another state or transferred back to Minnesota, go to www.interstatecompact.org and search under the “ICOTS” feature.
An offender on probation may be eligible for early release from probation if certain conditions are met. Notice to a victim is not required, but a victim can ask the agent if an offender is eligible. Victims are encouraged to contact the agent with questions about noncompliance, change in status, and subsequent proceedings, as well as other concerns about the offender.
Victim participation in the criminal justice system process does not end with conviction. However, in many postconviction proceedings, victims must take steps to ensure their participation.
Prosecutors’ offices are required to notify victims of an appeal. This requirement is automatic; victims do not have to make a special request. Victims will also be notified of the contested issues, the process, scheduled hearings, their rights, and the outcome.
Victims do not have a statutory right be notified when an offender has violated the terms of probation. Nonetheless, victims are encouraged to maintain contact with the probation agent and inform them of their interest in any probation revocation proceedings. Victims, like any member of the public, can attend probation revocation hearings.
Offenders can request that the record of their arrest and conviction be expunged. Victims have the right to be informed of expungement proceedings, to provide input, and to be informed of the outcome. To receive notice of an expungement, a victim must make a written request to the prosecutor’s office.
Victims have a right to be notified of an offender’s petition for civil commitment, to attend any related hearings, to be notified of the outcome, and to be notified of the release of a civilly committed offender. To receive notice, victims must submit a written request to
the county attorney.
The DOC will notify a murder victim’s spouse or next of kin of the parole or supervised release hearing for those offenders serving a life sentence. These victims have a right to attend the hearing and provide input, either orally or in writing. The commissioner must consider the victim’s statement when making the parole decision.
Some notifications to victims will not occur until years after the conviction, so updating the relevant agency with current contact information is important.
Contact the Redwood County Crime Victims Services department today!