Victim Offender Dialogue Program
It is not unusual for crime victims or surviving family members to have unanswered questions: "Why did you do it?" "Are you sorry?" "What were my loved ones last words?" Some victims and survivors want to ask these questions and express their feelings directly to the person that caused them harm. The Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) Program offers a safe, secure and structured way to do this.
VOD is a victim-initiated program. It’s an opportunity for the victim/survivor to ask questions about the crime, tell the inmate how it affected their lives and can empower the victim/survivor to hold the inmate directly accountable.
The inmate may also benefit by being able to accept responsibility and recognize the real person(s) they have affected. The inmate’s participation is voluntary and has no effect on their institutional or parole status.
The program includes extensive preparation for both the victim and inmate by trained volunteer facilitators. The facilitators prepare both parties independently for the face-to-face meeting, are present during the face-to-face meeting and provide subsequent follow-up. The face-to-face meeting is held in the state correctional institution housing the inmate or in a safe, private setting within the community (if the person is on parole).
Either party has the right to put the case on hold or end the process at any time.
For those who are unable to or do not want to meet the person face-to-face, “indirect dialogue” or letter writing is available. This form of dialogue utilizes the same preparation as with a face-to-face meeting. However, the facilitators assist each party with composing, exchanging and reading the letters. No letters will be sent directly to the victim or inmate. Instead, the letters go through the Office of Victim Advocate.
If you are interested in learning more about the program or would like to do an intake, please contact OVA at 1.800.563.6399 and ask to speak with the program coordinator.
Please note there is currently a waiting list of approximately one year and there are certain case restrictions.