Bill would standardize and streamline notification system for victims
February 2, 2012
AUGUSTA – A bill that that would strengthen the laws notifying victims of domestic violence when offenders are released from jail was recently referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. Rep. Alan Casavant, D-Biddeford, brought the legislation forward after being contacted by several constituents who were victims of domestic violence. The victims did not receive notification that their perpetrators had made bail until after the perpetrators were released and out on the streets.
“When a victim’s safety is at stake, we need to do everything we can to make sure that they receive notification as soon as possible,” said Casavant. “Having other parties be notified first who subsequently notify the victim wastes valuable time and resources.”
The proposed legislation would require that victims be notified directly by releasing jails within one hour by phone when offenders are released. Direct communication from the jail to the victim will improve victim safety and consistency in the process. Current Maine law requires law enforcement agencies to adopt notification policies, but the practice of notification is not uniform across the state.
The Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety will hold a public hearing on Feb. 13 at 10:00 a.m. for Casavant’s bill, LD 1760, “An Act to Ensure Notification to Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking When Defendants Are Released on Bail.”
Jodi Quintero [Casavant], 287-1488, c. 841-6279