Notifying victims of inmate release

House Speaker Pro Tempore Harold Wright has filed legislation that seeks to better protect victims of crimes by requiring the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to notify them prior to an offender’s release.

HB 1680 would require the department of corrections to notify victims through the Victim Information and Notification Everyday service 10 days prior to an offender leaving state custody.

“This law is designed to protect Oklahomans,” said Wright, R-Weatherford. “We have heard from victims that didn’t receive notification until the offender called them after their release. This is unacceptable.”

The proposed law change would also reorganize the notification system so that the responsibility of notifying victims would fall on the department of corrections instead of the local district attorney.

“Having a district attorney office notify a victim creates an extra step,” Wright said. “It makes more sense for the department of corrections to do the notification since they are the ones that will ultimately release the offender.”