Victim Services - Division of Correction
The Division of Correction is committed to assisting victims of crime who have suffered direct or threatened physical, emotional or financial harm as the result of a crime. This is accomplished by providing a supportive Victim Services Unit that addresses victim-related issues with respect and sensitivity. These issues mainly include notification of the inmate's release from incarceration, escape, return from escape, death of an inmate, victim impact statements and safety plans.
In recent years, notification regarding other significant inmate events have been added to the list of correspondence provided to victims. Many of the victims want their voices heard by criminal justice professionals on how the crime has impacted them and they take a more active role in the process. For others, there is the absolute fear of the inmate's return to society and they are not sure what action to take upon receiving word of the inmate's release.
The Victim Services Unit handles dozens of phone calls weekly and has assisted with formulating safety plans. Just as an offender's supervision is handed off from one authority to another, normally a victim is part of the process too and needs to be referred to the appropriate agencies.
Following are answers to basic questions and concerns regarding an inmate’s initial processing and the victim’s rights.
What happens after sentencing?
Once sentenced, the inmate will go to a reception center for diagnostic tests and evaluation to determine and assign an appropriate security level. The security evaluation is based upon such factors as sentence structure, criminal history, outstanding detainers or warrant, age, education and recent employment history. Background factors, such as previous terms of incarceration, prior escapes and past disciplinary problems, also effect the security assignment.
An inmate’s security level is important because it determines the type of institution in which an inmate will be housed. It should be noted that an inmate’s security level assignment can change over time because of the length of time served, good behavior, bad behavior, self-improvement, etc. When the security level assignment changes, so can the inmate’s location and it is possible for an inmate to be moved to a different facility.
Victims will not automatically be notified when an inmate’s institution location changes. However, victims may inquire periodically for location changes by calling VINE (Victim Information Notification Everyday) at 1-866-634-8463 (toll free).
What are my rights under the Law?
Victims of crime have the right to be treated with dignity, respect, courtesy and sensitivity.
Victims have the right to be notified if the relevant inmate escapes, is recaptured following an escape, released to the custody of another commitment agency, dies while incarcerated, is released by court order, expiration of sentence, or on mandatory supervision (a release caused by the application of diminution credits). The state’s attorney usually supplies the form requesting victim notification. The victim must complete the form and either file it with the state’s attorney or send it or a handwritten letter requesting notification to the Division’s victim services coordinator. Notification concerning parole hearings and parole release is available separately from the Maryland Parole Commission.
Victims have the right to submit a written "Victim Impact Statement" on how the crime has affected them and/or their family. This statement shall be taken into consideration by case management prior to any hearing that allows for any type of provisional release, such as work release, family leave, special leave, or home detention.
Maryland law requires that victim information remain confidential. Accordingly, security measures are taken to ensure that inmates have absolutely no access to this material.
Community Notification of Sexual Offenders: the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, in conjunction with the Division, will:
- Send written notice of the inmate’s release to the local law enforcement agency in the county where the offender will reside;
- Register sexual offenders under the requirements of the law;
- Send written notice of the inmate’s release to victims who have submitted a request in writing;
- Send notice to the parents or legal guardians of a minor victim;
- Send notice to any person who testified against the sexual offender as specified in writing by the state’s attorney;
- Provide information for the registry of sexual offenders; and
- Conduct public education and awareness programs to inform the public of its ability regarding sexual offenders.
Integration of Services: In the past, a victim had to submit a request for victim notification to the Division and, if necessary, to the Patuxent Institution, and the Maryland Parole Commission. Now, the victim need only submit one request to the Division’s victim services coordinator, who will forward the information to the Patuxent Institution and the Maryland Parole Commission.
If You are a Victim of a Crime
If you are a victim of a crime and the offender has been tried and sentenced to the Md. Division of Correction, you should contact the victim/witness coordinator in the state’s attorney’s office where the crime was committed and request a CRIME VICTIM NOTIFICIATION REQUEST FORM (CVNRF).
Please fill out the form and submit it or a letter in writing to the Division of Correction Victim Services Coordinator, 6776 Reisterstown Road, Suite 310, Baltimore, MD 21215. You must include the following:
- Your name;
- Your address;
- Your home, work or cell phone numbers;
- The inmate’s name and if known, prison ID number ;
- The court case number;
- A brief description of the offense and if not the actual victim, your relationship to the victim.
Upon receipt of the CVNRF or your written request, your name will be added to our list to receive the following written notifications:
- Inmate’s release if by mandatory supervision, expiration of sentence, court ordered release or the death of the inmate ;
- Inmate escape;
- Return from escape;
- Inmate is being considered for any type of provisional release, i.e., work release, home detention, etc and provided the opportunity to write an opinion of this action to the warden where the inmate is housed. The Division of Correction case management team must take into consideration the victim’s response along with any victim impact statement on file prior to placing the inmate on the provisional release.
Contact number for the Division of Correction's Victim Services Unit are as follows:
- (410) 585 3331
- (410) 585-3348
- (410) 585-3300 or
- 1(866) 606-7789