(A) There is hereby created in the division of parole and community services the office of victim services.
(B) The office shall provide assistance to victims of crime, victims' representatives designated under section 2930.02 of the Revised Code, and members of the victim's family. The assistance shall include, but not be limited to, providing information about the policies and procedures of the department of rehabilitation and correction and the status of offenders under the department's jurisdiction.
(C) The office shall also make available publications that will assist victims in contacting staff of the department about problems with offenders under the supervision of the adult parole authority or confined in state correctional institutions under the department's jurisdiction.
(D) The office shall employ a victim coordinator who shall administer the office's functions. The victim coordinator shall be in the unclassified civil service and report directly to the chief of the division.
(E) The office shall also employ at least three persons in the unclassified civil service whose primary duties shall be to help parole board hearing officers identify victims' issues and to make recommendations to the parole board in accordance with rules adopted by the department. The member of the parole board appointed pursuant to division (B) of section 5149.10 of the Revised Code shall approve the hiring of the employees of the office.
(F) The office shall coordinate its activities with the member of the parole board appointed pursuant to division (B) of section 5149.10 of the Revised Code. The victim coordinator and other employees of the office shall have full access to records of prisoners under the department's jurisdiction.
(G) Information provided to the office of victim services by victims of crime or a victim representative designated under section 2930.02 of the Revised Code for the purpose of program participation, of receiving services, or to communicate acts of an inmate or person under the supervision of the adult parole authority that threaten the safety and security of the victim shall be confidential and is not a public record under section 149.43 of the Revised Code.
(1) If a person who was convicted of or pleaded guilty to an offense of violence that is a felony escapes from a correctional institution under the control of the department of rehabilitation and correction or otherwise escapes from the custody of the department, the office of victim services shall notify each victim of the offense or offenses committed by that person of that person's escape and, if applicable, of that person's subsequent apprehension. The office shall give this notice as soon as practicable after the escape and the office identifies and locates the victim. The office shall give this notice to each victim of the escaped person, regardless of whether the victim is registered for notification with the office, unless the victim has specifically notified the office that the victim does not wish to be notified regarding the person.
The office may give the notice required by this division by telephone, in person, or by e-mail or other electronic means. If the office cannot locate a victim to whom notice is to be provided under this division, the office shall send the notice in writing to the last known address of that victim.
(2) If a person escapes as described in division (H)(1) of this section, the office of victim services may request assistance from the prosecuting attorney of the county in which the person was convicted of or pleaded guilty to the offense in identifying and locating the victim of the offense.
(I) Any reference in any Revised Code section other than this section to the "office of victims' services" of the division of parole and community services or of the department of rehabilitation and correction shall be construed as being a reference to, and meaning, the office of victim services created by division (A) of this section.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.29, HB 86, §1, eff. 9/30/2011.
Effective Date: 03-31-2003 .