I’m a victim of a crime.
The offender was sentenced to something they call “Community Supervision.”
What does this mean?What happens next?
YOU HAVE NOT BEEN FORGOTTEN
This is a guide for you, the victim and family members of the victim of crime, to assist you in understanding what happens once the offender is placed on community supervision and to show you how, as a victim, you are not forgotten. You have rights. The system can help.
What Are My Rights As A Victim?
Article 56.02 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure establishes crime victim’s rights. A victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim is entitled to the following rights within the criminal justice system.
THE RIGHT to receive adequate protection from harm and threats of harm which might be made by the offender because you give information to the prosecuting lawyers;
THE RIGHT to have your safety and that of your family taken into consideration when bail is being considered;
THE RIGHT, if you request, to be told when court actions are scheduled and to be told in advance if those court dates and times have been canceled or rescheduled;
THE RIGHT, if you request, to be told by a peace officer about the defendant’s right to bail and about the criminal investigation;
THE RIGHT, if you request, to be told by the district attorney’s office about how the criminal justice system works, about plea bargaining, restitution, the appeals process, and the parole process;
THE RIGHT to provide information to a Community Supervision and Corrections Department (CSCD-adult probation) conducting a presentence investigation about the impact of the offense on you and your family;
THE RIGHT to receive information about the Texas Crime Victim Compensation Fund, which provides financial help to victims of violent crime and, if you request, to receive referrals to available social
service agencies which may provide additional help;
THE RIGHT, if you request, to be told about parole proceedings by the TDCJ Pardons and Paroles Division, the right to argue against parole of the offender, and the right to be told if/when the offender is released;
THE RIGHT to the prompt return of any property no longer required as evidence;
THE RIGHT, if you request, to have the prosecutor notify your employer of the necessity of yourtestimony that may involve your absence from work;
THE RIGHT, if you request, and the offense involved sexual contact, to counseling regarding HIV and AIDS; and
THE RIGHT under Article 57.02, if you are the victim of a sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault, to choose a pseudonym (made-up name) to be used instead of your real name on all public files and records concerning the offense. Ask your local law enforcement agency for a pseudonym form. The form remains confidential.
Additionally, Article 21.31 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure gives you the right when the crime involved sexual contact, to ask the judge to order the offender to be tested for HIV or AIDS. The judge may or may not order the offender to be tested, but if the judge does order the testing, the offender has no choice but to be tested. Test results will be given directly to the local health authority who is required to tell the victim the results of the testing.
What Is Community Supervision?
In addition to sending the offender to jail or prison, the court can place the offender under the supervision of the local Community Supervision and Corrections Department (CSCD), formerly called adult probation. The court sets out specific conditions which the offender must meet while supervised and a plan is developed for providing effective supervision.
Community Supervision seeks to protect the public and provide punishment and rehabilitation of the offender. If the offender does not follow the conditions of supervision, additional conditions can be imposed or the offender can be removed from community supervision (revoked) and sent to prison or county jail. Community Supervision includes a wide range of requirements, from regular reporting and attending counseling or life skills classes, to being placed on electronic monitoring and having to submit to drug testing, to placement into a residential facility or state jail, and varying levels of supervision in between.
How Can I Find Out What’s Going On?
The Community Supervision and Corrections Department may notify you when the offender is placed on community supervision. At that time, the CSCD will give you the opportunity to state if you want further notification about what happens to the offender. The CSCD staff is limited by law as to what information they can give you, but they will help you as much as possible. If you know the offender was placed on community supervision, but you do not receive notification from the department and want to know what’s going on, contact the department in writing. Include your name, address, phone number, the name of the offender, and the cause number (if known).
How Do I Get The Money The Court Says The Offender Has To Pay Me?
If the offender has to pay what is called restitution to you, the CSCD will collect that money and send it to you. You don’t have to have direct contact with the offender to get your money. Usually, you will be sent a portion of the money owed to you once a month. Feel free to ask the CSCD when to expect the money to be sent. However, the department can only send money if the offender is paying as ordered by the court.
The CSCD works hard to enforce all of the conditions placed on the offender, which includes insisting the offender meet financial responsibilities. If the offender falls behind on making payments or breaks any other conditions of supervision, the CSCD will take appropriate actions against the offender.
There are laws which govern what information is protected which impact what can or cannot be disclosed by the CSCD. The following is NOT a complete list of what a CSCD can or cannot tell victims and other members of the public. This is only a sample of “cans” and “cannots” to give you a general idea of what to expect.
- Whether or not an offender is under supervision.
- If the offender is current on restitution payments or not.
- If a Motion to Revoke Community Supervision has been filed.
- The results of a hearing on a Motion to Revoke.
- If the offender has been placed into a residential facility, but cannot disclose if it is for treatment of a substance abuse or mental health problem. If the offender has been transferred to another county and how to contact that county’s CSCD.
The CSCD cannot tell you:
- Whether of not the offender is in a drug/alcohol treatment program.
- Anything about the offender’s medical or psychological condition or record.
For additional information, contact:
Adina Morris, Victim Services Coordinator
Community Supervision &
District Attorney’s Office
29th Judicial District
Palo Pinto County, Texas
PH: (940) 659-1280
FAX: (940) 659-2310