Victim Services and Rights

The Montana Department of Corrections (DOC) Victim Services program implements person-centered, trauma-informed strategies to assist victims of crime who have experienced traumatic events. The DOC recognizes ongoing interaction with the criminal justice system, including events while the offender is under the supervision of DOC, can re-trigger trauma.

DOC Victim Services Offered
  • Victim notification and information
  • Services to victims throughout offender's correctional sentence 
  • Information regarding restitution payments, if applicable
  • Assistance with Victim Impact Statements and Pecuniary Loss Affidavits
  • Victim/witness advocacy
  • Support Montana at Board of Pardons and Parole hearings
  • Information about other criminal justice and corrections agencies involvement in victim cases
  • Referrals to resources for specialized services
  • Training, education and public awareness
  • Assistance with Orders of Protection, Parenting Plans and other civil legal paperwork
  • Crisis intervention 
  • Develop collaborative partnerships with victims, victim advocates, criminal justice agencies, community-based organizations and other community members
  • Victim Restorative Justice opportunities

Please note the DOC does not offer financial assistance for safety planning.
Liaisons are not licensed attorneys, nor do they practice law.  Any assistance with legal documents is limited to navigating the system.

Family Group Team Meetings

FGTM is a victim wrap-around meeting that brings together the victim, their support person(s), DOC staff members, and relevant community partners in a collaborative effort to develop a personalized safety plan for the victim and his or their family. The victim liaison facilitates this meeting at the request of the victim.

Unwanted Contact

The Victim Services program can assist if you receive unwanted contact from an incarcerated person, a person being supervised in the community by the DOC, or from anyone else on behalf of a person who is currently under the supervision of DOC.

Examples of unwanted contact include:

  • Phone calls, email messages, or letters from a person who is prohibited by court order from communicating with you or another member of your household;
  • Phone calls, email messages, or letters from a person that are threatening, harassing, intimidating, or persistently annoying;
  • Phone calls, email messages, or letters that continue after you have told the person to stop communicating with you;
  • Communication from someone you believe is acting on behalf of a person under the jurisdiction of the DOC, and you find threatening, harassing or intimidating, or that is in violation of a court order.

PLEASE NOTE: if you have received unwanted contact in the form of voicemail messages or written messages – including letters, emails, text messages, messages through social media. Please do not discard, destroy or delete them. This evidence can be useful in holding individuals accountable for continued violations of court orders and imposed conditions.

For Order of Protection forms, visit the Montana Department of Justice Office of Victim Services. You may also contact your Community Victim Liaison for assistance.

If you have been threatened or are in immediate danger, please contact your local law enforcement.

Safety Planning

Contact a Victim Liaison if you require assistance developing a safety plan.

Department of Corrections Safety Plan Guide

Some victims wish to remain anonymous due to safety concerns. We cannot notify you about important custody changes that may affect you, such as the offender’s release from prison or placement in your community. We take seriously your need for confidentiality and do not share victim information with offenders. 

The Montana Department of Corrections Victim Services Program is dedicated to ensuring  victims' rights are enforced, and victims and survivors have a meaningful voice within the state correctional system.
 
Basic victim's rights in Montana include:
  • The right to information about all events related to the case.
  • The right to have a prosecutor and/or victim advocate present when a victim is interviewed.
  • The right to know the offender's location at all times from arrest until his or her release from supervision.
  • The right to protection from intimidation, harassment, discrimination, and abuse throughout the criminal justice system.
  • The right to attend court proceedings unless the court determines that the victim's absence is necessary to a fair trial.
  • The right to one free copy of public documents in their case. Court documents are available from the Clerk of the Court in the county in which the case was prosecuted.
  • Victims and immediate family members of sex crimes have the right to request that the sentencing judge, parole board or probation officer order the offender to have no contact with them.
  • To learn more, statutes pertaining to victims are included in Title 46, Chapter 24 of the Montana Code Annotated (MCA) or the National Crime Victim Law Institute.
Restitution is the offender’s debt to you, the victim, for losses resulting from the crime. Montana law (46-18-241, MCA) entitles you to full restitution for these expenses:
 
  • Medical and dental bills
  • Mental health counseling
  • Stolen or damaged property
  • Lost wages
  • Travel and relocation costs
  • Future expenses related to the crime
  • Funeral costs for homicide victims
  • Determining the actual amount of loss is easier if you keep copies of bills and receipts, and a list of all expenses related to the crime.
Provide copies of these records to the county attorney or a county victim advocate, who may ask you to fill out related forms. Complete and return as soon as possible, and make copies for yourself.
 
If a judge ordered restitution in your case, submit a W-9 Form and a Direct Deposit Signup Form to the DOC Collections Unit. Not sure? Call your county attorney.
Offenders establish payment schedules with their probation & parole officers. Payments go to the (DOC) Collections Unit, which sends money to victims either quarterly or when there is at least $25 to send.

For more information on offender’s obligation to pay restitution and supervision fees, please visit Montana Probation and Parole Services.

Contact the DOC Collections Unit at (800) 801-3478 to check on the status of restitution. Notify the Collections Unit if your address changes.
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