Montana Crime Victim Rights
The Montana Department of Corrections Victim Services Program is dedicated to ensuring that victim’s rights are enforced, and victims and survivors have a meaningful voice within the state correctional system.
Basic victim rights in Montana include these:
- 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.
Find Help and Legal Information online at www.MTCrimeVictimHelp.Org
Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision
The Interstate Compact Section consists of the section manager and three agents who are responsible for the movement and data tracking of offenders living in other states on probation, parole, or conditional release. A national compact has provided the sole statutory authority for regulating the transfer of adult offenders on supervision across state boundaries since 1937. Currently, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are members of this interstate agreement, known as the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS). State commissioners and deputies, appointed by each state’s governor, oversee compliance with the compact and meet to promulgate rules, regulations, and policies for the administration of the ICAOS agreement and how adult offenders will be supervised. No state shall refuse to supervise an offender because of the crime he or she has committed.
The primary purpose of the interstate compact is two-fold:
- To enhance public safety and provide a continuum of supervision mechanism for individuals who travelled outside their resident state, committed a crime and were sentenced, but have no other reason to remain in the non-resident state. Offenders who can continue their employment and pay their financial obligations help the economy; and
- To protect the rights of victims through the control and regulation of offender movement and provide for better tracking of offenders and enforcement of policies and rules. Each state has a council of representatives from victim groups; legislative, executive, and judicial branches; and law enforcement.
Offenders ask to relocate to other states because they are not residents of the state where they were convicted and because offenders’ benefit when allowed to relocate where they have families, emotional or financial support, employment, or schooling. The interstate section arranges the transfer of any convicted person placed on supervision who requests to cross state boundaries to live, work, or attend school, and prepares the necessary documents to ensure that the receiving state has information to complete home and employment investigations. Conditions of supervision are enforced, and victims are more likely to receive compensation if the offender is working in the community.
Many interstate offenders successfully complete their sentences. Supervision of all offenders crossing state lines is critical and can only be successful when each offender is provided the same degree and intensity of supervision in the receiving state as in his or her home state. Compact policy dictates that a receiving state is not expected to do more or less for an out-of-state case than it does for its own cases. Any offender who leaves the sentencing state is expected to comply with the receiving state’s supervision policies, is encouraged to pay restitution and complete treatment requirements, and may be arrested and returned if conditions of supervision are violated or new crimes are committed. The interstate section coordinates the return of Montana parole, conditional release, and interstate violators through warrants or a governor’s extradition warrant. Fiscal restraints are not a sufficient reason for refusing to return violators under the compact agreement.
Top Receiver States (from MT)
- Washington, California, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon
Top Sender States (to MT)
- Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon, Colorado, Wyoming
The Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS) is proud to partner with the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) to ensure victims of crime are treated with dignity, fairness and respect, and to promote victims’ rights and safety when probationers and parolees are transferred across state lines. For more information on ICAOS’ rules on victim notification, please visit our website at https://www.interstatecompact.org and see rules 3.108-1 and 3.108.
When an offender is transferred through Interstate Compact, Montana VINE is no longer able to provide notification. An ICAOS victim representative is available in every state to assist victims and family members with questions regarding these rules and victim notification. In Montana, please contact DOC Victim Services for additional information.
Additionally, NOVA and ICAOS have collaborated to establish a new resource for victims of crime and family members who are seeking support and advocacy when offenders are moved across state lines. You may email ICAOSfirstname.lastname@example.org and a NOVA victim representative will reach out to you within one (1) business day. Together, NOVA and ICAOS are committed to promoting victims’ rights and safety.
ICOTS offers a Public Web Portal which allows the public to search for information about offenders who have transferred supervision to another state or are in another state with permission while the transfer of supervision is under consideration. To access the portal, visit https://pwp.interstatecompact.org/PWP/searches
Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) prioritizes the safety of victims who have been affected by crimes with an immigration nexus. To ensure that victims remain informed about the custody status of their alien offenders, DHS has created the Victim Information Notification Exchange (DHS-VINE).
DHS-VINE is a web-based system that sends notifications to registrants who have been affected by crimes committed by a removable alien in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. For more information and registration, please visit https://vinelink.dhs.gov/