Corrections officials include jail and prison war- dens and guards, and probation and parole officers. Victims whose cases led to successful prosecutions occasionally seek their cooperation but may find themselves in conflict over issues of safety and money.

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Keeping Track of Offenders and Receiving Reimbursement from Them

Victims are more likely to have contacts with county probation departments than with county jail, state prison, or state parole authorities. Of those found guilty in state courts, more felons are sentenced to probation for up to several years than are sent to jail for up to a year or to prison for longer stretches (Brown and Langan, 1998).

Victims want two things from probation and parole officers. When offenders are placed on proba- tion or are released on parole after serving time in prison, victims want to be protected from harassment and further harm. They can feel especially endan- gered by a vengeful, violent ex-offender if their cooperation and testimony was a crucial factor leading to conviction. And if making restitution is a condition of probation or parole, victims want to receive these payments right on schedule. Probation and parole officers share these goals but often find their caseloads so overwhelming that they cannot enforce these requirements effectively.

Corrections officials must safeguard the well- being and best interests of victims by keeping them notified of the inmates’ whereabouts, parole board appearances, and release dates, according to legisla- tion in most states. Correctional agencies can go fur- ther and develop victim safety plans that make sure prisoners on temporary leave (on furlough, work release, or educational release) or who escape from an institution do not threaten, track down, stalk, and attack the people they injured who helped to send them away (see National Victim Center, 1990; and Gagliardi, 2005).

When victims discover from other sources that their offenders (especially those guilty of aggravated assault, armed robbery, rape, or sexual molestation) are back on the streets, conflicts can erupt with corrections officials who did not meet their notification obligations. A widely used computer-based notification system enables cor- rections officials to alert registered victims about their jail or prison inmates’ whereabouts, including their release on bail; attendance at classes or work outside the institution; completion of sentence;

placement on probation or parole; or their escape from custody (Harry, 2002).

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