Victim/Witness Notification Program FAQs
Browse Questions

How do I get into the notification program? (top)

Federal crime victims are usually entered into the program automatically during the investigative stage of the criminal justice process. Those victims who are not initially entered into the program may contact the U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) in the district where the inmate was prosecuted to be included in the program.

Under what circumstances will I receive notification? (top)

The Bureau will provide notification of the inmate's initial commitment, parole hearings (if applicable), furloughs, halfway house placement, release, escape, and death. In addition, victims will be notified when an inmate is considered for compassionate release.

Why was I not notified of the transfer of an inmate? (top)

Victims are notified that the inmate is in Bureau custody. The Bureau does not routinely notify victims of an inmate's transfer from one facility to another while in Bureau custody. While in Bureau custody, no matter the location, the risk to the public is minimal. Victims will be notified when inmates are unsupervised in the community (furloughs) or when no longer in Bureau custody (release). If at any time you wish to know the location of an inmate, you may call the Victim Notification System (VNS) Call Center at 1-866-365-4986, visit the Victim Internet System, or access the information on our Inmate Locator tool.

If I do not want to receive any more notifications, how can I get removed from the program? (top)

Victims no longer wishing to receive notifications may remove themselves from the program by calling the VNS Call Center at 1-866-365-4986; by using the Victim Internet System, by writing or calling the Bureau, or by calling the USAO Victim-Witness Coordinator.

Does the notification program ensure my safety? (top)

No. If you are being contacted by an inmate inappropriately, contact the institution where the inmate is incarcerated. If you are being threatened, immediately notify your local law enforcement.

How and when will I receive the money the inmate was ordered to pay me? (top)

The Bureau attempts to collect all legitimate financial obligations ordered by the Court and owed to crime victims. Funds collected by the Bureau are sent to the Clerk of the Court in the sentencing district. The Clerk of the Court is then responsible for distributing any funds owed to crime victims. To determine the status of monies owed, victims must contact the Clerk of the Court in the sentencing district.

When will the inmate be paroled? (top)

Most inmates are not eligible for parole. Victims will be notified with their initial notification whether an inmate is eligible for parole. If eligible for parole, victims will be notified prior to the inmate's parole hearing date and will be afforded the opportunity to provide information relevant to the U.S. Parole Commission's decision to grant or deny parole.