Office of Victim Services
770 West Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43222
or toll free
If you are a victim of a crime and would like to register for notification regarding an Ohio inmate, please complete the Victim Notification form. Upon receipt of your notification form, the Office of Victim Services will process your request and you will receive a confirmation letter.
Senate Bill 160, known as “Roberta’s Law”, became effective on March 22, 2013. Roberta’s Law expands victim notification rights enumerated in Ohio Revised Code section 2930.16 as they relate to certain inmate release or transfer proceedings. If the inmate is convicted of Aggravated Murder, Murder, a first, second or third degree offense of violence or is serving a life sentence, the victim will be automatically notified of specified events, regardless of whether the victim has requested notification. Roberta’s Law also provides an opt-out mechanism for those victims who do not wish to be automatically notified of certain inmate release and transfer proceedings. In order to opt out of receiving these notifications a “Victim Notification Opt Out” form must be on file with the Office of Victim Services. The signed “Victim Notification Opt Out” form can be mailed or emailed to the contact information listed below.
The Office of Victim Services
770 West Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 432222
Telephone (toll free) 888-842-8464
PLEASE NOTE: In addition to the registration above, victims can also register with VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) to have the most comprehensive notification services possible. VINE links county sheriff and statewide correctional facilities to make the status of offenders available 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year.
What Services are Available for Victims of Crime?
- Crisis intervention and advocacy throughout the corrections process
- Assisting victims with concerns related to inmates and parolees under our jurisdiction.
- Information regarding status of inmates in prison or under supervision of the Department's Adult Parole Authority.
- Community education about policies and procedures of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
- Referrals to other state and community services.
- Petitions the Parole Board for Full Board hearings as appropriate.
- Monitors network of Victim Coordinators located in each prison and Adult Parole Authority district office throughout the state, serving as liaisons for the Office of Victim Services.
- Provides education to Department staff to increase awareness of victims' issues.
- Assists Parole Board and Adult Parole Authority's parole and probation staff in identifying victims' issues and provides input into decision-making process as appropriate.
- Facilitates meetings of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's Ohio Council on Victims Justice.
Resources for Victims
Outreach for Victims in Underserved Communities
- Ohio Cultural Competence Training of Trainers PowerPoint
- Immigrant Power and Control Wheel
- Manual for Training of Trainers
How did the Office of Victim Services Develop?
In the early 1980's, the Ohio Parole Board began notifying victims, who requested, of upcoming parole hearings. The Parole Board began involving victims and immediately recognized the value of their input into the decision-making process. This was strengthened in 1987 by Senate Bill 6, which gave victims of serious crime the right to submit a statement to the Parole Board about their experience prior to the offender's hearing. By late 1994, the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction began developing a plan to provide comprehensive victim services throughout the Department. Senate Bill 2, the "truth in sentencing" bill, effective July 1, 1996, took another step forward in helping transform the criminal justice system into the victim's justice system. This bill mandates that victims have input from the time of an arrest through trial and sentencing, incarceration, and for any type of early release. Senate Bill 2 also formally created the Office of Victim Services within the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, strengthening the plans already developing within the Department.
Ohio Council on Victims Justice
The Ohio Council on Victims Justice plays an active role in the Department's efforts to improve victim services. They provide input and make suggestions for operational changes that impact victims and serve as liaisons between the Department and the constituents of Council members.
Victim Coordinators - Institutions and Parole Offices
(Click to view locations)
Each correctional institution and parole office has a staff assigned to serve as the "victim coordinator." These staff respond to victim issues and concerns at the local level and serve as liaisons to the Office of Victim Services.
Parole Board Victim Notification Section
In addition to the above services, victims of inmates incarcerated in Ohio's prisons may register with the Victim Notification Section of the Parole Board. They are notified prior to any release consideration of the inmate. At this time they may either write to the Board or personally voice their concerns in an interview with a Parole Board staff member. A "victims' conference day" is held once a month for this purpose.
The victim or designated representative wishing to provide additional statements and/or information to the Parole Board and/or Adult Parole Authority should send those documents to: Office of Victim Services, 770 West Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43222.
The mission of the Office of Victim Services is to work in partnerships to make a positive difference in the lives of crime victims, by affording them meaningful participation throughout the Ohio corrections process.
Victims can also register with VINE in addition to their registration with the Office of Victim Services. Registering for both systems will allow victims to have the most comprehensive notification services possible. VINE links county jails and statewide correctional facilities to make the status of offenders available 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year. Anyone may call the tollfree VINE hotline to access custody information, available in English and Spanish. Callers may also register directly with VINE to receive telephone notification of changes in custody. A live operator is available 24 hours-a-day to assist callers in accessing information or registering for notification.
For defendant custody information, to locate an offender in a county jail, state prison, or state juvenile facility, or to register for notification call 1-800-770-0192. Follow the computer prompts given by the VINE service. During registration you will be asked to provide a telephone number and select a 4-digit PIN code. The PIN is a 4-digit number chosen by you. Your PIN is used to confirm receipt of notification calls from VINE. Choose a number that is easy for you to remember and write it down.
When registering for VINE, please have the following information: offender name, inmate number (for county inmates), or institution number (for state prison or juvenile offenders).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What if I'm not at home or my phone is busy when VINE calls?
A. The VINE service is designed to allow every opportunity for you to be notified. If there is no answer or the line is busy, VINE will continue to call for a minimum of 24 hours. VINE will leave a message on an answering machine but will continue to call for 24 hours or until the PIN is entered.
Q. Can I register more than one telephone number with VINE?
A. Yes, but each registration must be done separately and requires a PIN. You may use the same PIN for several registrations.
Q. Does VINE ensure my safety?
A. The VINE program is designed to provide you with quick and easy access to offender information and to assist in preparing for an offender's release. Do not depend solely on VINE or any other program for your safety.
Q. Who sponsors VINE?
A. VINE is provided by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's Office, the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association, the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and the Ohio Department of Youth Services and is funded by a Victims of Crime Act grant.
Frequently Asked Questions
As a crime victim, will I be notified of upcoming parole hearings or release dates for the offenders?
- To receive notification of upcoming parole hearings, release dates, death of an offender, escape of an offender, or pending execution, please complete the Victim Notification Form.
Can I let the Parole Board know how I feel about a possible release of an offender?
- Any citizen may send information to the Parole Board at any time regarding his/her feelings about a potential parole. Due to the changes in Ohio law over the past few years, it is possible that the offender's sentence does not include eligibility for parole, but may include supervision upon his/her release. This is known as Post-Release Control. As a crime victim, if you have concerns regarding the release of an offender, you may send written information to the Office of Victim Services. For parole eligible offenders, victims may contact the Office of Victim Services to schedule a meeting with the Parole Board during Victim Conference Day.
I would like to meet with the offender who hurt my family or me. Who should I call?
- Contact the Office of Victim Services for information on the Victim Offender Dialogue program.
If I was the victim, do I have visitation rights to see the offender?
- No. Visitation is a privilege for an inmate, not a right. Victims are generally denied visitation for a number of reasons, mainly to prevent re-victimization and to ensure a healthy healing process. One option is to take part in the Dialogue Program. Please contact the Office of Victim Services for more information.
If I registered for notification with the Office of Victim Services, am I automatically registered in the VINE notification system as well?
- No. The VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) system is a separate automated phone notification system that is available to crime victims of incarcerated Ohio offenders. If you are a victim, you should register individually for both VINE and the Office of Victim Services' notification systems.
I have been receiving threats or unwanted calls/correspondence from an offender? What can I do?
- You may call the Office of Victim Services or call the Victim Coordinator at the institution from which the contact is coming and ask for assistance.
Why didn't I receive any information from the Office of Victim Services after I was victimized?
- Due to the high number of victims throughout the State of Ohio, the Office of Victim Services is not able to contact victims directly after sentencing. It is the county prosecuting attorney's responsibility to refer the victim and/or family to the Office of Victim Services. It is then the victim and/or family's responsibility to register with the Office of Victim Services.
If I move, do I need to let the Office of Victims Services know?
- Yes. In order to continue receiving notification and information from the Office of Victim Services, it is important to update your address, telephone, or any other changes to your contact information.
If the offender owes child support, can he make payments while incarcerated?
- Yes. The court in which the child support order originated can send a certified copy of the order to the institution where the offender is located. Payments can be taken from the offender's account.
If the offender owes restitution, can he make payments while incarcerated?
- Yes. The Clerk of Court from the county of conviction will send a certified journal entry to the institution upon sentencing. If the entry indicates restitution was ordered for a specific amount, the institution will validate that entry and upon validation begin the withdrawal of any available money from the offender's account. The money is sent to the Clerk of Courts for dispersal to the victim.