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The necessary role of crime victims and witnesses in the criminal justice process should be enhanced and protected.

All victims will be treated with sensitivity and compassion, especially when a victim has been sexually assaulted or is a minor.

The identity of a crime victim or witness shall not be disclosed to the prisoner or any third party at any time.

This policy is not intended to, and does not create any entitlement, cause of action, or defense in favor of any person arising out of the failure to accord to a victim or a witness the procedure outlined in this Policy. No limitations are hereby placed on the lawful prerogatives of the Department of Defense or its officials.

Officers and employees engaged in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crimes, and the confinement of criminals, shall ensure victims are accorded their rights. As provided for by Federal law, a crime victim has the right to:

  • Be Treated with fairness and respect for the victim's dignity and privacy
  • Be reasonably protected from the accused offender
  • Be notified of court proceedings
  • Be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, unless the court determines testimony by the victim would be materially affected if the victim heard other testimony at trial.
  • Confer with the attorney for the Government in the case
  • Receive available restitution
  • Be provided information about the conviction, sentencing, imprisonment, and release of the offender

All personnel involved in the correctional process have a continuing duty to take reasonable measures within their means to protect victims and/or witnesses from further threat, harm or intimidation, without infringing on the constitutional rights of the accused.

Clemency and parole boards shall consider making restitution to the victim a condition of clemency and parole. They may consider victim statements on the impact of the crime.

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A person who suffers direct physical, emotional, of financial harm as a result of the commission of a crime committed in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), or in violation of the law of another jurisdiction if military authorities have been notified. When the victim is under 18 years of age, incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased, the term includes one of the following (in order of precedence): a spouse, legal guardian, parent, child, or another person designated by the Court. When stationed outside the continental United States, victims also include DoD civilian employees and contractors, and their family members.

A person who participates in a DoD criminal investigation or proceeding for the purpose of providing information or evidence concerning on offense. When the witness is a minor, this term includes the minor's parents or any person having legal custody of the minor. The term witness does not include a defense witness or an individual involved in the crime as a perpetrator or accomplice.
The initial requirement for notification will be sent to respective confinement facility by the military justice prosecutor using a DD Form 2704 "Victim/Witness Certification and Election Concerning Inmate Status." The 2704 is to be immediately sent along with other court documents at the time of confinement following an announcement of sentence. It is required for all Summary, Special and General Court Martial proceedings. If there is no victim information or insufficient information, the VWC should attempt to contact the prosecutor via correspondence or by telephone to request the DD Form 2704 be forwarded by mail or fax as soon as possible to facilitate informing the victim or witness of the status of the prisoner.

The date a prisoner is eligible for a parole hearing is mandated by Department of Defense policy and indicates only that a hearing may be held; not that release is imminent. Parole and/or clemency are not automatically awarded. If the hearing is held, the victim or witness will be advised prior to the prisoner appearing before the service Clemency and Parole Board. This will provide the victim or witness with an opportunity, if so desired, to submit an impact statement for consideration by the board. The impact statement may be written or taped on either audio or video tape.

All requests for notification from victims or witnesses remain confidential. Therefore, the VWC is the principal confinement facility point of contact to report any complaint of a prisoner's harassment of or threat toward the victim and/or witness. The VWC reports all such complaints to the Commanding Officer for further investigation and possible disciplinary action. In all reported cases of contact, the Commanding Officer normally directs the prisoner to cease communications with the victim or witness.

Victims or witnesses enrolled in the program must advise confinement facility of their current address and phone number. It is the victim or witness' responsibility to ensure that confinement facility address records are accurate. This allows confinement facility to provide written notification of prisoner release and release-related activity 30-45 days in advance. In cases where timely written notification is impossible, such as temporary emergency release, the confinement facility will notify enrolled victims and witnesses by telephone. When prisoners are released from confinement, victims and witnesses will be notified of the release date, reason for release, and if known, the city and state the prisoner gives as a release destination.

In the event that a prisoner dies or escapes from confinement, the confinement facility will immediately notify the enrolled victim and/or witness of the time, date and general information concerning the event. The confinement facility will also immediately notify the enrolled victim and/or witness of the prisoner's capture and return to custody.

Prisoners are advised that they are not to initiate contact with any victim or witness of their court-martial offense either directly or through a third party, without the permission of the victim. This prohibition includes contact via telephone calls, visits, or written correspondence. Prisoners desiring to communicate with victims may submit a chit requesting permission from the Commanding Officer. The VWC will find out from the victim(s)/witness(es) whether contact is desired. This applies whether or not the victim has elected to participate in this program. Even if the victim or witness desires contact such approval is at the discretion of the Commanding Officer.

Occasionally, victims desire to express their thoughts to the prisoner about the losses (physical, financial, emotional) they have experienced as a result of the court-martial offense. They may do this by writing to the prisoner through the respective confinement facility Disposition Board. Upon receipt of these letters, the Disposition board will include for review and consideration in their recommendation for Clemency or Parole to the Service Clemency and Parole Board. In addition to submitting an impact statement to confinement facility Disposition Board, victims or witnesses may request to make a personal appearance (at their own expense) before the Naval or Army Clemency and Parole Boards. Both boards convene in Arlington, Virginia. The Parole and Release Manager can assist in coordinating arrangements for a victim's personal appearance before the Service Clemency and Parole Boards in Washington D.C. Other interested parties such as representatives of the prisoner's former command may send written comments to the Clemency and Parole Boards through the Parole/Release Manager who ensures all reviewing officials will have access to their statements. Such appearance does include the brig's Disposition Board, however, impact statements will be accepted, and are encouraged.

1. Implements Victim Assistance Procedures for at the respective confinement facility by establishing the mechanism for serving victims and witnesses of crime. Implements Victim/Witness Notification System form letters and establishes databases.

2. Serves as the point of contact for all victim assistance questions at the respective confinement facility. Acts as the expert on services available to victims and as the conveyor of new victim assistance laws and policies.

3. Maintains the momentum of the program and locates volunteers to assist in the notification process.

4. Trains staff on Victim-Witness issues: procedures, staff responsibilities and updates on new victim assistance matters.


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