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					 How is tHe Victim impact statement Used in tHe criminal JUstice process?
How is tHe Victim impact statement Used in tHe criminal JUstice process?
                                                                                                                                                                                          VICTIM IMPACT
                                                                                                                                  In December 1997 the Texas Crime Victim
                         within 10 days of filed information (misdemeanor) or indictment (felony),                                Clearinghouse produced the booklet,
                         the prosecutor notifies victim(s) of his/her right to complete a Victim
                                                                                                                                  IT’S YOUR TURN. In October 2009 it was

                         impact statement (Vis) and provides Victim assistance coordinator
                         (Vac) contact information.                                                                               condensed to a brochure and renamed,
                                                                                                                                  “It’s Your Voice.” The brochure may be
                         Vac provides Vis to victim along with offer to assist with completing the
                                                                                                                                  reproduced without written permission. It

                                                                                                                                  also can be found on the Texas Department
                                                                                                                                  of Criminal Justice website at: www.tdcj.
                                                                                             Community Supervision

                                                                                                                                                                                       VO I C E
  the defendant is acquitted/                  Victim completes and
  charges are dropped.                         returns Vis to Vac.                                                                Any changes should be brought to the
                                                                                             Vis routed to the                    attention of the Texas Crime Victim
                                                                                             appropriate community                Clearinghouse.
                                                                                             supervision department.

                                               after a finding/adjudication                  If community supervision
  defendant is sentenced to
                                               of guilt but before                           is revoked, VIS will follow
  county jail. da or ca’s office
                                               sentencing, the court                         TDCJ pathway indicated
  keeps Vis.
                                               considers the Vis.                            below.

                                    court places Vis into the offender’s commitment
                                    papers/pen packet that is sent to tdcJ-
                                    correctional institutions division (prison).

                                    Vis is forwarded to tdcJ-Victim services division
                                    where the victim information is entered into the
                                    Victim notification system, if requested on the Vis.
                                    the victim will be notified of any change of status
                                    of the offender.                                                                              For more information about the Victim Im-

                                    when the offender enters the parole review
                                                                                                                                  pact Statement, contact the Victim Assistance
                                                                                                                                  Coordinator in your prosecutor’s office or
                                                                                                                                  the Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse at
                                    process, the Vis is included in the offender’s file
                                    for the texas Board of pardons and paroles to
                                                                                                                                  800-848-4284 or tdcj.clearinghouse@tdcj.            TEXAS CRIME VICTIM
                                    consider when making administrative release
                                    decisions. Victim also can request that certain
                                    special conditions be imposed if the offender is                                              In regard to confidential information, please
                                    granted parole or mandatory release.
                                                                                                                                  see the Texas Government Code, Section
                                                                                                                                  552.1325 and the Texas Code of Criminal
                                                                                                                                  Procedure, Article 56.09.                       TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE
                                    if released to parole or mandatory supervision, the                                                                                              VICTIM SERVICES DIVISION
                                    parole officer can contact tdcJ-Victim services                              Revised 9/2009
                                    division when supervising the releasee.
What is the Victim Impact Statement?                        Although the Victim Impact Statement is not         fender convicted of any crime and to be notified,        1. The Presentence Investigation Report:
     The Victim Impact Statement (VIS) is a de-        considered by a jury, after the defendant has been       if requested, of the offender’s release. To receive           After the defendant’s guilt is determined,
tailed account of the emotional, physical, psycho-     found guilty or accepts a plea agreement, the judge      these notices from the Texas Department of Crimi-        recommendations for sentencing are forwarded
logical, and financial impact the crime has had        must consider your Victim Impact Statement before        nal Justice you must complete the Victim Impact          to the judge in a form called a presentence inves-
on the victim, family members, and other loved         imposing a sentence. Your Victim Impact State-           Statement form and return it to your Victim Assis-       tigation report (PSI). These reports are prepared
ones. This is the victim’s opportunity to relate       ment, excluding Section 2 of the Confidential Infor-     tance Coordinator.                                       by community supervision officers (formerly
the impact of the crime to key decision makers         mation Sheet, becomes a formal part of the court              If you want to receive these notices, simply re-    known as probation officers).
throughout the court system.                           record and can be seen by the defendant and his/         turn the Confidential Information Sheet of the Vic-           Sometimes in preparing a presentence inves-
                                                       her attorney. The defendant or his/her attorney          tim Impact Statement. You do not have to return a        tigation report, the community supervision offi-
Who can provide a Victim Impact Statement?             may comment on the Victim Impact Statement and,          completed Victim Impact Statement to receive the         cer will use information from the Victim Impact
     Texas law allows victims of sexual assault,       with approval of the court, introduce evidence or        notice; however, in not doing so, the Board of Par-      Statement to begin filling in the report’s section
kidnapping, aggravated robbery, trafficking of         testimony in regards to its accuracy.                    dons and Paroles will not be informed as to how          on victim impact. Victims and survivors have the
persons, or injury to a child, elderly individual or        If the defendant is sentenced to community su-      the crime impacted you. To ensure notification af-       right to provide additional impact information to
disabled individual, or victims who have suffered      pervision (probation), the community supervision         ter the defendant is sentenced to TDCJ, call the Vic-    be included in this report. This can be done in
personal injury or death as a result of the crimi-     officer will have access to your Victim Impact State-    tim Services Division at 800-848-4284 to verify that     writing or in an interview with the community
nal conduct of another to submit a Victim Impact       ment to use for notification purposes.                   your contact information is correct.                     supervision officer. If you prefer to offer your
Statement. Close relatives of deceased victims              If the defendant is incarcerated in a TDCJ facil-                                                            victim impact information this way or do this in
and guardians of victims also can exercise this        ity, your Victim Impact Statement goes with his or       How can your Victim Impact Statement help                addition to a written Victim Impact Statement,
right.                                                 her court records to the Texas Department of Crimi-      you?                                                     ask the Victim Assistance Coordinator to put you
     After the defendant has been indicted, the        nal Justice. When the defendant becomes eligible             Those who have submitted a Victim Impact             in touch with the community supervision officer
Victim Assistance Coordinator (VAC) in the pros-       for parole consideration, your statement is one of       Statement feel that completing it was beneficial to      handling the case.
ecutor’s office has the responsibility to provide      the items the Board of Pardons and Paroles will            them. While they may never know the exact im-
a Victim Impact Statement form to victims and          consider prior to voting whether or not to re-             pact of their words, they found strength in know-      2. Your “Right to be Heard” ... an Oral State-
survivors. After you complete the Victim Impact        lease the offender.                                              ing that whatever the decision was, it was       ment to the Court:
Statement, return it to the Victim Assistance Co-                                                                                     made by someone who was                 After the sentence has been pronounced,
ordinator. He or she will send it to criminal jus-     An important note about                                                           informed about how the          victims and survivors have the right to make an
tice professionals for consideration in making de-     your Victim Impact State-                                                         crime affected its victims      oral statement to the court. People who have
cisions about the defendant. Note: The Victim          ment:                                                                            and survivors.                   exercised this “right to be heard” have described
Impact Statement is not a legal document; it is            You have the right to                                                          Victims and survivors who      a sense of satisfaction at being able to tell the
not an affidavit and does not need to be nota-         be informed of parole pro-                                                      have completed the Victim         court, often in the presence of the defendant,
rized.                                                 cedures, to participate in                                                       Impact Statement felt it gave    what the consequences of the criminal act have
                                                       the parole process, to be                                                         them a greater opportunity      been.
Who will consider the Victim Impact State-             notified, if requested, of                                                         to participate in the crimi-        If this is a right you would like to exercise, tell
ment?                                                  parole proceedings con-                                                             nal justice process.          the Victim Assistance Coordinator. He or she will
    Many cases do not go to trial and are settled      cerning the defendant                                                                                             notify the prosecutor handling the case.
through plea bargains. However, the prosecutor         in your case, to provide                                                            Are there other ways               By providing victim impact information, writ-
must consider your Victim Impact Statement be-         to the Board of Pardons                                                             to provide victim im-         ten and/or oral, you supply a perspective that no
fore entering into a plea agreement. He or she         and Paroles for inclu-                                                              pact information?             one else can. If the Victim Impact Statement is
also may use information from your VIS to deter-       sion in the defendant’s file                                                              YES. You have the       not part of the defendant’s file, decision-makers
mine how much restitution to request as part of        information to be considered by the                                            right to provide victim impact     in the system will not have heard from the people
a sentence.                                            Board prior to the parole of any of-                                 information in two other ways:               most affected by this crime, you and your family
                                                                                                                                                                         and other loved ones.