Can You Be Notified When Your Loved One Is Released?

Can You Be Notified When Your Loved One Is Released?

No. You won’t get a prisoner release notification when your loved one gets released from prison. The only person who may be notified is the victim of or a witness to a crime. Otherwise, you’ll only learn if you’re loved one is being released from prison in other ways.

How will you know when your loved one leaves prison?

Your loved one can tell you when they will be released. They should know their release date. You can also find any Bureau of Prisoners incarcerated person’s release date. It is publicly available information. You can find your loved one’s release date on the BOP website. You can search for your loved one’s information by their identification number if you have it. If not, you can search for your loved one by name. Fill out as much information as you can in the search fields. Then hit the search button.

After that, you get results. Each result tells you the prisoner’s name. It also tells you their registration number. You can also see their age, sex and race. Below that, you can find their release date. The BOP updates the release date occasionally. If your loved one receives “Good Conduct Time,” their release date may take time to change online. Make sure to check back from time to time.

You won't get a prisoner release notification from the BOP. Instead, you'll have to get information from your loved one.
Image courtesy of RODNAE Productions from Pexels.

Will you get a prisoner release notification if you are a victim?

Yes. If you were the victim in the case, you will get a prisoner release notification. The BOP uses the Victim/Witness Notification System (VNS). This system is a combined effort from the BOP, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Postal Service. It began in 2002 and tells victims and witnesses when a specific person is released from prison.

You likely do not have to take any steps yourself. Most victims get entered into the system automatically. Agencies usually do this during the investigation stage. But if you are not already in the system, you can sign up. You need to contact the U.S. Attorney’s office in the district where the prisoner was prosecuted.

Once you are in the program, you get notifications for the following events:

The VNS notifies victims through email. It also sends notifications through the mail by USPS. Prisoner release and other notifications are available in both English and Spanish.

Image courtesy of Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels.

The Takeaway:

The BOP does not notify family members when a prisoner gets released. Unless you are the victim of the crime that put them in prison, you won’t get a prisoner release notification. But your family member can tell you when their release will happen. You can also look up the date online.

Victims of crimes do get notified about a prisoner’s status changes. The BOP also notifies witnesses to a crime in some cases. This is done through the Victim/Witness Notification System. Most victims and witnesses will be automatically enrolled in the VNS program.

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