Fifth Judicial District - Department of Correctional Services

DISTRICT POLICIES

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TITLE: Working With Victims And Notification Of Victims

POLICY

Victims are treated with respect and sensitivity. Fifth District staff shall receive training that is necessary to understand and support the needs and rights of the victim /survivor of a crime.

DEFINITION

  1. Victim / Survivor - Any person or persons who have been impacted, harmed, victimized or experienced a loss or injury as the result of an offender’s action that is considered a criminal act under federal or state law.

PROCEDURES

  1. Principles for Working With Victims
    1. Victim / Survivors’ safety is a priority and should be considered in any and all decisions related to all offenders on probation and parole. Fifth district employees shall respond to any victim/survivor’s concerns in a manner that demonstrates the department’s commitment to being informative and responsive to the needs and rights of victim / survivors of crimes.
    2. Staff will work with each offender to take action to acknowledge and repair the harm done to his/her victim(s) and to take action to repair that harm to the extent possible. Staff will help offender understand the harm caused by their criminal actions as part of their Re-Entry Case Planning.
    3. If a victim contacts staff with any information regarding the offender or the offender’s case it is imperative that all information be kept confidential for the safety of the victim / survivor. This information may be documented in ICON under "Records/Alerts – Victim Confidential Comments." ALL REGISTERED VICTIM INFORMATION (i.e., name, address, phone, etc.) MUST BE KEPT IN THIS CONFIDENTIAL SECTION OF ICON-NOT IN GENERIC NOTES.
    4. Staff are community and restorative justice advocates. Simply put, this means staff work to advocate a quality of justice that is focused on repairing the harm done to victims based on evidence-based principles of restoration and prevention. As part of the Department’s commitment to victims and restorative justice, the following goals will guide our efforts to develop victim sensitive practices:
      1. Victims and victim advocates are represented on governing bodies and initial planning committees.
      2. A Victim’s safety is a fundamental element of supervision.
      3. Confidentiality is maintained per Iowa Code and District policy.
      4. All staff will receive training on crime and victimization.
  2. Notification
    1. Field Services
      1. Beginning of supervision:
        1. the offenders supervising PPO will send victim notification letter and victim notification checklist to all non-registered victims of the offender pertaining to the charges for which the offender is currently being supervised. Please refer to specific policies for sex offenders
        2. check Iowa Court Information System (ICIS), Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) and County Attorney Victim Witness Coordinator for victim’s address
        3. if unable to find address, then no letter will be sent to the victims
        4. document in generic notes whether or not a letter was sent or if no addresses is available
      2. End of supervision:
        1. call registered victims and any victims who have asked to be contacted. Please refer to specific policies for sex offenders
        2. if there is no phone number, send victim notification letter
      3. Businesses:
        1. notify if registered as victim
      4. Absconders:
        1. notify registered victims and any victims via how they have requested in the notification letter or checklist
    2. Residential Services
      1. Beginning of supervision:
        1. send victim notification letter and victim notification checklist to non-registered victims
        2. check Iowa Court Information System (ICIS), Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) and County Attorney victim coordinator for address
        3. if unable to find address then no letter will be sent to the victims
        4. document in generic notes whether or not a letter was sent or if no addresses is available
      2. End of supervision:
        1. call registered victims and any victims who have asked to be contacted
        2. if there is no phone number send victim notification letter
      3. Businesses:
        1. notify if registered
      4. Absconders:
        1. notify registered victims and any victims via how they have requested in the notification letter or checklist

Any registered victim(s) of an escapee listed in the ICON Records Alert, victim screen shall be notified by phone of the offender’s escape immediately when it is discovered by staff. Staff shall be sensitive to the victim and how they may be affected by the information. It is the responsibility of the residential facility to designate a staff person who shall carry out this action within 30 minutes following a known escape. If they are unable to reach the victim(s), the local sheriff’s office shall be contacted to attempt to notify the victim(s). In any case where the residential facility staff does not make direct contact with victim(s), a standard IDOC Victim Notification (IS-CL-06) Victim Letterform shall be sent. When contact information is found to be incorrect or inaccurate, this finding shall be forwarded to the Central office, Victim and Restorative Justice Administrator to be noted on the ICON victim screen. Victim(s) who wish to be notified upon apprehension of the offender shall be contacted by facility staff.

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