Bill To Require Crime Witnesses To Be Notified When Offenders Are Released Advances

Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes III

Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes III

TRENTON– The Assembly Appropriations Committee recently approved legislation to require a crime witness to be notified when the offender is released from custody.

The bill (A-3692) would amend certain statutory sections to require the county Office of Victim and Witness Advocacy or prosecutor, in addition to notifying the victim, to also notify any witness to the crime who has requested such notification. Under current law, only crime victims or their relatives must be notified.

“A citizen who participates in a criminal proceeding should be told of a violent offender’s release,” said Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes, III (D-Middlesex), a sponsor of the bill. “This would be a small legislative action that would extend the opportunity for more New Jerseyans to be kept informed for their own safety.”

The bill would direct the Attorney General to maintain or arrange for the state to participate in an automatic notification system to alert crime victims, witnesses, and other appropriate persons when an offender is released from custody or is transferred within the correctional system. Victims, witnesses, and, as determined by the prosecuting agency, other appropriate persons would supply contact information and automatic notification will alert when custody status changes.

The legislation now goes to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.

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