Victim Notification Bill Passes House

Staff Writer

Legislation that looks to give victims clear and proper notification regarding the release of an offender has unanimously passed the House with a vote of 87 to 0.

House Bill 1680, authored by House Speaker Pro Tempore Harold Wright, would require the department of corrections to notify victims through the Victim Information and Notification Everyday service within 60 days and no less than seven days prior to an offender leaving state custody.

“As lawmakers, we have an obligation to ensure that Oklahomans are protected,” said Wright, R-Weatherford. “Members of both parties recognized this obligation today, and we were able to push legislation forward that will help Oklahomans that have been a victim of a crime.”

The proposed law change would also reorganize the notification system so that the responsibility of notifying victims would fall on the department of corrections. The legislation also requests assistance from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals in giving notification of the pending release of its opinions where the outcome may affect a victim or a victim’s family.

“This is a good example of a constituent and victims request for better notification prior to release of a perpetrator or information that could dramatically affect a person or a family’s vulnerability,” Wright said.