Maine State Jails and Prisons
Can I find out if a person who committed a crime against me is being released from jail or prison?
Generally, yes. You can get a “notification of release” if you are the victim of a crime. You can also get notification of release if you are an immediate family member of the victim and:
- The crime involved domestic violence or sexual assault or
- Your family suffered serious trauma or lost lots of money because of the crime or
- The victim is unable to get the notification without your help (for example, because of the victim’s death, age, or physical or mental illness).
This notification includes situations where the defendant is being released from a medical institution after having been found temporarily insane or incompetent to stand trial.
Does it matter what the crime was?
Yes. You can only get a notification if you are a victim of certain crimes. These crimes include:
- Murder or any Class A, B, or C crime (for more information see the Maine Criminal Code)
- Certain Class D crimes, including:
- Violent crimes against you. For a complete list see Chapter 9 of the Maine Criminal Code.
- Sex crimes: See Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 of the Maine Criminal Code
Note: There are a lot of crimes that qualify for notification of release. Even if you are not sure whether you qualify, you should ask for notification of release anyway.
Maine also has many other rights for victims of crime including various rights to participate in and/or be notified of major events in the criminal justice process. Learn more about Victims' Rights laws in Maine.
What do I need to do to get notification?
You need to fill out a request for notification which you can get from the Victim Witness Advocate at the District Attorney’s office. Who you get notification from depends on where the offender is being held:
- If the offender will be released from a county jail (for a sentence of less than 9 months), you will be contacted by jail staff or the Victim Witness Advocate at your local District Attorney's Office.
- If the offender will be released from a Department of Corrections prison (for any sentence over 9 months), you will be notified by the Department of Corrections Office of Victim Services. You may call call 800 968-6909 or visit the Department of Corrections Victim Services website to fill out an online notification form.
If you are not sure where the offender is being held, contact the District Attorney's Office handling your case. You can also try using the Department of Corrections free online inmate search.
Note: If you are a survivor of domestic violence, you should be notified automatically if the offender is released on bail before the trial. After the trial, you will still have to fill out a request for notification as described above.
How will I be notified?
The Department of Corrections Victim Services or the County Jail will notify you by mail or phone as soon as they know when the inmate will be released. The notification will include the expected date of release and the address where the inmate will live, if known. In some cases the notification will also tell you where the inmate will work or go to school. In an emergency, for example if the inmate escapes prison, you may be notified in person.
Note: If your address or phone number changes, make sure you tell the Department of Corrections or the District Attorney's Office immediately, otherwise you may not be notified.
Federal Jails and Prisons
If you are a victim of a federal crime, you may be entitled to victim notification in certain circumstances through the Victim/Witness Notification System (VNS). The Victim/Witness Notification System (VNS) is designed to provide timely information to victims of federal crime in regards to significant events that may occur throughout the criminal justice process.
If you are not already signed up for VNS you should contact the United States Attorney’s Office in your area for help signing up. In Maine, the U.S. Attorney’s office can be contacted at:
United States Attorney’s Office
100 Middle Street, East Tower, 6th Floor
Portland, ME 04101
Telephone: (207) 780-3257
Fax: (207) 780-3304
TTY: (207) 780-3060
United States Attorney’s Office
202 Harlow Street, Room 111
Bangor, ME 04401
Telephone: (207) 945-0373
Fax: (207) 945-0319
TTY: (207) 945-0307
The United States Bureau of Prisons also lists various resources and information that are available to crime victims.
If you are not sure what federal prison the offender is being held in you should contact your local United States Attorney’s office or you can try to locate that person using the Bureau of Prison’s inmate locate page.
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