Victims have statutory rights that begin the moment a crime is committed against them. Ideally, victims would be fully informed of their rights at every step in the process: at the time the crime is reported, during the justice process, while the offender is incarcerated, and when the offender reenters the community. Different criminal justice stakeholders are responsible for victim services at different stages of this process. This webpage focuses on victim services such as corrections, reentry, parole, and probation that occur after an offender has been convicted, and it will provide resources and information for those working in this important, but rarely recognized area of corrections.
Many states have created statutes that mirror and expand the federal provisions under 18 U.S.C. Section 3771 and these post-conviction victims’ rights may include:
- Notification of the location, status, and custody level of the inmate(s), including notification if the inmate(s) is released or escapes from custody
- Notification of contact information for the institution where the inmate(s) is housed
- Information about the right to protection, including assistance to obtain “no contact” orders that prevent the inmate(s) from contacting the victim
- Assistance with the collection of restitution, if the sentence included an order of restitution
- Providing information about and referrals to crime victim services in the community
- In cases involving violent crime, receiving information about the Crime Victim Compensation Program
- Submission of a Victim Impact Statement and information regarding its use and purpose
- The right to information about compliance during supervision in the community
- The opportunity to participate in a victim/offender dialogue program
It is very important to know and understand the victim rights in your own jurisdiction, how those rights have been interpreted and what agency is responsible for providing for those rights. In many states the duties for post-conviction services are shared between the state departments of correction and the paroling authority.
Agencies wishing to participate in training and/or examine and improve their response to victim services in corrections may apply for limited, short-term technical assistance to aid their efforts: /TA.
VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021
July 22, 2021
Among other provisions, this law—
- Requires funds collected by the Federal Government under deferred and non-prosecution agreements to be deposited into the Crime Victims Fund;
- Clarifies that states may waive a requirement that victim compensation programs promote victim cooperation with law enforcement;
- Allows or requires states to waive matching requirements for Crime Victims Fund grant funds under certain circumstances; and
- Provides the Attorney General with the authority to provide no-cost extensions to all Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) award recipients.
Most importantly, OVC will be able to continue funding essential and lifesaving services to crime victims, which are provided by victim service providers and allied professionals nationwide.
For more information: News and Events from the Office of Victims of Crime
Increasing Awareness of Post-Conviction Rights for Victims Across Agencies: An NCVLI Report
August 6, 2020
The past few decades have seen tremendous strides for victims’ rights advocacy both in increased awareness of rights available to victims and in more widespread acceptance and compliance with these rights in courts. As general awareness has increased and victim services have improved, an emerging challenge has been identified: the complex landscape of victims’ rights once they reach post-conviction.
Recognizing this gap in knowledge and services, NCVLI, working in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections, released a set of recommendations for effective post-conviction rights and services to improve enforcement. These recommendations focus on opportunities for collaboration between agencies to develop systems of rights compliance and strengthen implementation of services post-conviction.