Crime Victims’ Rights
Victim Notification Systems
The right to notification is supported by each state, the U.S. Department of Justice through the Victim Notification System (VNS), and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Victim Notification Program (VNP).
The system by which victim notification is performed in each state may vary. If you are seeking information about an offender that has been incarcerated, the best place to start to ensure you receive victim notification is your state’s department of corrections.
Victims of federal crimes are able to obtain information about events pertaining to the criminal case and/or any defendants in the case through VNS, a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Attorneys’ offices, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Launched in 2001 as a pilot program with funding support from OVC, it became fully operational in 2002 under the development and oversight of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. This free, computer-based system provides important information to victims of federal crimes. This information is also available in English and Spanish on the Internet and through a toll-free telephone number (1-866-365-4968).
VNP is another type of notification system and is a service of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Once a person that has entered the United States illegally has been convicted of a crime and served their prison sentence, he/she is transferred to ICE for deportation proceedings. The VNP provides information to eligible victims and witnesses about the offender’s release and/or deportation activities. Eligible victims and witnesses can register to receive notifications by completing a Victim Request for Notification of Criminal Alien Status form found on the VNP website.