TERRE HAUTE -- Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter announced plans Monday for a statewide system to notify crime victims of an offender's status during an appeal of a sentence and conviction.
"This is a very important initiative that can bring peace of mind to many," Carter said. "Following the complex nature of legal appeals and proceedings can be overwhelming to someone unfamiliar with the judicial system. After time, victims may also lose track or be unaware of when their perpetrator is let go. Victims of crime can benefit by knowing an offender's status in the system."
The system would give crime victims notice of an offender's status from the point of initial booking into a local jail through an offender's eventual release. Only two counties, Hamilton and Marion, have such a system now.
The system could also include options such as trial court proceedings notification.
The system would take an estimated two years to fully implement. Once in place, victims would be able to register to receive notification of a change in an offender's status. Victims would also have access to a 24-hour hotline to ask questions regarding an offender's status.
Approximately 30 states, including Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois, operate computerized victim notification systems.
State Sen. Teresa Lubbers (R-Indianapolis) has previously sponsored legislation in support of a victims notification system. Her proposed legislation would designate the Attorney General's office as the state administrator.
"A comprehensive victim notification system is a valuable tool in improving public safety and is especially important in domestic abuse cases," Lubbers said. "Victims deserve to know the whereabouts of those who injured them to prevent further violence. I look forward to partnering with Attorney General Steve Carter in spearheading legislative efforts to enact a statewide notification program."
Lubbers and Carter are seeking federal funding options to support such a measure.