Victim's Right to Notice of Prisoner Release
Can I find out if a person who committed a crime against me is being released from jail or prison?
Yes. You can get a “notification of release” in certain situations:
- If you are the victim of a crime, or
- If you are an immediate family member of the victim, and:
- The crime was domestic violence or sexual assault
- Your family suffered serious trauma or lost lots of money because of the crime
- The victim is unable to get the notification without your help (for example, because of the victim’s death, age, or physical or mental illness).
This notification includes situations where the defendant is being released from a medical institution after having been found "not criminally responsible by reason of insanity" or incompetent to stand trial.
Does it matter what the crime was?
Yes. You can only get a notification if you are a victim of certain crimes. These crimes include:
- Murder or any Class A, B, or C crime (for more information see the Maine Criminal Code)
- Certain Class D crimes, including:
- Violent crimes against you. For a complete list see Chapter 9 of the Maine Criminal Code.
- Sex crimes: See Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 of the Maine Criminal Code
What do I need to do to get notification?
You need to fill out a request for notification which you can get from the Victim Witness Advocate at the District Attorney’s office. Who you get notification from depends on where the offender is being held:
- If the offender will be released from a county jail (for a sentence of less than 9 months), you will be contacted by jail staff or the Victim Witness Advocate at your local District Attorney's Office.
- If the offender will be released from a Department of Corrections prison (for any sentence over 9 months), you will be notified by the Department of Corrections Office of Victim Services. You may call call 800 968-6909 or visit the Department of Corrections Victim Services website to fill out an online notification form.
If you are not sure where the offender is being held, contact the District Attorney's Office handling your case.
Note: If you are a victim of domestic violence, you will be notified automatically if the offender is released on bail before the trial. After the trial, you will still have to fill out a request for notification as described above.
How will I be notified?
The Department of Corrections Victim Services or the County Jail will notify you by mail or phone as soon as they know when the inmate will be released. The notification will include the expected date of release and the address where the inmate will live, if known. In some cases the notification will also tell you where the inmate will work or go to school. In an emergency, for example if the inmate escapes prison, you may be notified in person.
Note: If your address changes, make sure you tell the Department of Corrections or the District Attorney's Office immediately, otherwise you may not be notified.
Revised February 2010; partially revised August 2010
PTLA # 373A