Post Disposition Services for Victims
In the previous section we discussed your involvement in the criminal justice system and how cases move through the system. In those cases where a defendant is convicted or has admitted to sufficient facts, the victim’s ability to participate may continue. Some victims may want to be informed of post-conviction proceedings and decisions regarding the offender. This chapter will briefly discuss some of these options and provide resource information so that you may inquire further.
Massachusetts has a number of state agencies involved in the punishment, incarceration and rehabilitation of criminal offenders. Recognizing the needs of crime victims, these agencies have instituted programs and policies to meet those needs.
For offenders on probation, victims’ concerns may focus on restitution and other conditions of probation such as stay away orders. For offenders sentenced to prison or a house of correction, victims’ concerns may center on the offender’s eventual release from custody. TheVictim Bill of Rights mandates that all victims and family members of deceased, incompetent or minor victims have the right “upon request to advance notice when an offender is moved from a secure to a less secure facility, has received temporary, provisional or final release from custody, or escapes.” In order to be notified of release or obtain information about an offender from post-conviction agencies, victims must apply for certification from the Criminal History Systems Board.
In Massachusetts, there are three different types of correctional facilities — jail, the house of correction and state prison. The Assistant District Attorney and Victim Witness Advocate will be able to tell you to which facility the defendant or defendants in your case will likely be sentenced. This information is discussed in more detail later in this chapter.