About Victim Services

Victim Services Unit (VSU)

The Victim Services Unit (VSU) is devoted to supporting crime victims, survivors, witnesses and their families through the post-conviction process of the New Hampshire criminal justice system. As a unit, our goals are to minimize further trauma to crime victims and their families through enhanced advocacy and responsiveness by department staff, support and encourage victim involvement in the post-conviction phase of the New Hampshire criminal justice system, and integrate victim-sensitive principles and practices within the NHDOC families and district. 

The most common types of services provided are notification of individual case status, criminal justice support, advocacy and accompaniment to Parole Board hearings. Staff regularly work with victims, survivors and their families to educate them on the post-conviction criminal justice process. Staff communicates by email, texts, phone calls, face-to-face and Zoom meetings in order to prepare victims and support them through NH Adult Parole Board hearings and work to ensure that they understand the process, their rights, and are prepared to provide a victim impact statement, if they choose to exercise that right. Furthermore, staff help victims with safety planning and concerns as the resident begins their reintegration process into the community, starting with minimum custody and moving onto parole. 

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections strives to continuously improve assistance and support for people who are crime victims or survivors. Collaboration with community and statewide stakeholders helps us stay responsive to the interests of victims as we fulfill our public safety responsibilities. With respect for the rights and experiences of crime victims and survivors, we are committed to keeping interested citizens informed, involved, and safe.

Victim advocacy through the NH Department of Corrections is promoted in a manner consistent with our agency mission and values. The Victim Services Bureau maintains the following principles:

New Hampshire supports a seamless system of advocating for crime victims throughout the justice system;

Further trauma for victims and families is minimized through:

  • non-judgmental, compassionate and timely interactions by trained staff;
  • information about correctional processes and case-specific progress;
  • information about available resources;

Victim input into relevant correctional decision-making processes is encouraged;

The principles and practices of community justice are supported by:

  • acknowledging the harm caused by crime;
  • listening to victims and survivors of crime;
  • addressing the relationship between victims, offenders and communities;
  • providing opportunities to promote victim empowerment and offender change;
  • supporting the role and interest of communities in achieving justice;

Collaborative partnerships are essential with victim advocates, national and state coalitions, community organizations, and other public and private agencies.

Contact VSU


Notification of Offender Status

New Hampshire law provides felony crime victims with the right to be notified of changes in offender custody status. Upon request, timely notification is provided to victims and survivors for inmate custody changes involving facility transfers, reduced custody, releases, parole revocations, escape and death of inmate.

Advocacy and Support during Reduced Custody Decisions

Some people feel anxious and concerned for their safety when inmates are considered for reduced custody or release. With respect for this concern, the Victim Services Bureau collaborates with prison classification and community corrections staff. Similar collaboration can occur during the parole process. These crime victims/survivors feel safer when the inmate or parolee is restricted from potential contact with them or their families.

Accompaniment at Parole Hearings

Victims have a legal right to provide input to the NH Adult Parole Board prior to its decision about an inmate's release. They may choose to attend hearings with or without the inmate present, or may send written input to the Board. Victim Services staff is available to accompany, support and advocate for victims/survivors who choose to participate. During SFY 2013, this included over 7,000 contacts involving accompaniment or other support during Parole Board hearings and offender reentry.

Reasonable Protection from Intimidation and Harassment

Crime victims have a right to be free from intimidation by the offender. The NHDOC offers reasonable measures for supporting the emotional and physical safety of victims. Contacts in prison visiting rooms can be restricted. The Victim Services Bureau advocates for victims complaining of intimidation or harassment by inmates. In collaboration with the victim-witness advocate of the prosecutor's office, the Victim Services staff offers outreach and support for concerned victims and their families. When reasonable information is received about such inmate behavior, appropriate action by the Warden or designee is taken, including cease and desist orders, formal disciplinary measures, or referral to the NHDOC Division of Professional Standards for possible prosecution.

Information, Referral and Support

Support and information is available for people interested in learning more about a residents term in prison. Our employees are available to offer assist and refer crime victims to appropriate resources. While respecting confidentiality of resident treatment needs, knowledge about prisons, probation and parole helps crime victims understand changes in a residents life "behind the walls" or under supervision in the community. Literature about national and local community resources is also available.

Prison Tours

For some crime victims and survivors, seeing firsthand where inmates are incarcerated helps to understand what "time in prison" is really like. Consistent with security needs, the NH Department of Corrections Victim Services Bureau will arrange tours of our correctional facilities upon request.


When a resident is ordered to reimburse the victim for economic losses resulting from crime, the Division of Field Services collects restitution and disburses money to the victim. By law, the NH Department of Corrections and courts have authority to enforce each restitution order until it is paid in full. Questions about a specific restitution collection or disbursement concern can be addressed to the NHDOC Division of Field Services.

Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-79) requires correctional agencies to improve prevention, detection and responses to sexual abuse of incarcerated people. Our PREA Victim Advocate teams with investigators during interviews with residents reporting sexual victimization. Partnerships with the NH Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence and other agencies support access to sexual assault support services at each correctional facility. Along with other strategies, these activities continue moving NHDOC forward in reinforcing a climate and culture of zero tolerance for sexually abusive behavior.