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Van Hollen Urges Crime Victims to Enroll for Victim Information on Offenders

 

"Crime victims are entitled to know the status of certain offenders and to be notified when changes take place.  Enrolling in these programs sooner rather than later ensures victims can be as aware as the law allows and entitles them to be.  Given the prospect of early release, victims who want to know should enroll now." Attorney General Van Hollen

 

MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen urges crime victims to enroll with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Office of Victim Services and Programs to assure they receive information about offenders' custody and supervised release. "We want to ensure victims are able to fully exercise their rights to get the information to which they are entitled by law," said Van Hollen. Victims can enroll by calling 1-800-947-5777.

 

Provisions of the 2009 biennial budget allow for the early release of certain offenders from prison and shortened periods of supervision in the community. The provisions apply not only to new prisoners but also offenders already serving time in Wisconsin prisons.

 

"The early release provisions essentially changed the rules involving the sentencing of a criminal offender," said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. "Victims heard the sentence handed down by the judge when their case went through court. Now they are hearing that the sentence isn't necessarily the sentence anymore and they may or may not be told ahead of time if the offender is released early."

 

"Crime victims are entitled to know the status of certain offenders and to be notified when changes take place. Enrolling in these programs sooner rather than later ensures victims can be as aware as the law allows and entitles them to be," said Van Hollen. "Given the prospect of early release, victims who want to know should enroll now."

 

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has also consolidated crime victim information on its website for ease of access and use to victims.  This information, developed in response to concerns expressed by victims about the new early release provisions, can be accessed from the Department of Justice website at http://www.doj.state.wi.us/CVS/offenderInfo.asp

 

Information about enrollment and how to access public records, such as the sex offender registry, are available by visiting the same web address.

 

Victims have a statutory right to notice of certain early releases, according to Wisconsin law.  The Department of Corrections Office of Victim Services and Programs facilitates these notifications but victims must first be enrolled with the program in order to receive updates about offenders. Victims can enroll by calling 1-800-947-5777.