Fifth Judicial District - Department of Correctional Services

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TITLE: V O R P

POLICY

VORP stands for Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program. This program attends to the needs of crime victims that many times are not addressed by the criminal justice system.

VORP is a meeting between the victim and the offender. The meeting is facilitated by a trained mediator and takes place in a controlled, safe setting. The victim can choose to have a victim advocate at the meeting to provide support. At the meeting, the victim is given the opportunity to express feelings, ask questions and offer opinions. A written agreement that determines restitution or other matters can also be drawn up at the meeting. In most cases, these written agreements become incorporated in court orders that offenders are required to abide by.

VORP is a process that embodies elements of a concept called "restorative justice." Restorative justice views crime as a violation of one person by another. Restorative justice requires that offenders understand and accept responsibility for their actions and to make things right with the victim.

PURPOSE

How does VORP benefit victims?

It provides victims the opportunity to talk about the crime and its affect on them and their family.
It allows victims to take an active role in the outcome of their case.
It helps the victim obtain answers to questions such as "Why me?"
It provides an opportunity for victims and offenders to negotiate a restitution payment plan.
It allows victims to obtain closure and put the crime behind them

Other benefits of VORP

It personalizes the crime for offenders.
It helps offenders understand the trauma they caused.
It provides the chance to discuss the offenders' accountability and responsibility for the crime.
It allows an opportunity for offenders to express remorse and make amends to victims.
It may lessen the likelihood that offenders will commit another crime.

VORP Facts

98% of the VORPs held result in restitution agreements between victims and offenders.
96% of victims would choose to participate in VORP again.
86% of victims find that meeting their offender is helpful.

PROCEDURE

  1. The Polk County Attorney's office will notify VORP on all cases where there is a victim.
  2. VORP will contact the victim in each case.
  3. The victim will decide if they would like to participate in VORP.
  4. Offenders assigned by the Court to participate in Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP), shall schedule a VORP session by calling 286-2085 within three working days from the time of sentencing.
  5. VORP sessions shall include the following:
    1. The offender should not have to pay more than a reasonable cost.
    2. The victim is given the opportunity to present information relative to the value of the loss.
    3. The value should be verified.
    4. The victim should be informed about the offender's ability to pay.
    5. The victim should be informed whether the money will be paid in small amounts over a long period of time or at specific times.
  6. If restitution cannot be resolved at the time of the VORP session, the County Attorney is ordered to file a statement of damages and the offender shall have thirty (30) days from the filing date to contest the amount of damages claimed.
  7. It is the supervising officer's responsibility to insure that the offender contact VORP and follow-up with the outcome of the session.
  8. An offender can not be discharged from probation until the VORP session has been resolved.
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