The Victim Services Unit provides information, support and notification to victims of juvenile crime whose offenders are in the custody of the Department of Youth Services. This program enables the Department to fulfill the statutory mandates of M.G.L. c 258B s. 3 (t) and contributes to the agency's overall mission of public safety and establishing partnerships with communities.
Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 258B s.3 (t), victims, family members of homicide victims and parents or guardians of minor age or incompetent victims shall, upon request, be informed by the proper custodial authority (DYS) whenever the juvenile receives a temporary, provisional or final release from custody, whenever a juvenile is moved from a secure facility to a less secure facility, and whenever the juvenile escapes from custody.
To receive notice of release for a juvenile offender who has been adjudicated delinquent and committed to DYS, victims must file an application for Juvenile Offender Notification and Information with the DYS Victim Services Unit. For an application please contact the unit at 617-960-3290 or download the form from our website, Juvenile Offender Notification and Information Application Form.
To receive notice of release for a youthful offender who has been adjudicated and committed to DYS, victims must file an Application for Notice of an Offender's Release with the Criminal History Systems Board. For an application, please contact their Victim Services Unit at 617-660-4690 or download the form from the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services website.
Once approved, the Department of Youth Services Victim Services Unit will provide verbal and written notice of the following changes in the juvenile's status or placement:
- Transfer from a secure facility to a less secure facility
- Temporary Release (pass eligibility)
- Provisional Release (release to the community)
- Discharge from custody - upon completion of sentence at age 18 if a juvenile or 21 if a youthful offender
Notification is additionally provided for the following:
- Parole Violation - absconded from supervision and whereabouts unknown
- Return to custody
- Transfer to higher security facility
- Transfer to the Department of Correction or House of Correction
- Court ordered release from custody
If you would like to receive more information on our program please contact us at:
The Department of Youth Services
Victim Services Unit
600 Washington Street 4th Floor
Boston, MA 02111
Phone (617) 960-3290
Fax (617) 951-2409
This program is partially supported by MOVA through the 1984 VOCA grant from OVC, OJP and the U.S. Department of Justice. All services are free.
Juvenile Offender Notification and Information Application Form
(1) Who is eligible to receive notice of a juvenile’s release?
Pursuant to the Victim Rights Law M.G.L. 258B, s. 3(t), victims, family members of homicide victims and parents/guardians of minor age or incompetent victims, shall be informed by the Department of Youth Services whenever the juvenile receives a temporary, provisional or final release from custody, is transferred from a secure facility to a less secure facility or escapes.
(2) Why is an application needed to receive notice?
Certain information about a juvenile is confidential and protected under the law. Recent amendments to the law allow the Department of Youth Services to directly notify a victim of changes in the juvenile’s custody status and/or placement.
(3) How does a victim receive notice?
Applications for Notice of a Juvenile’s Release can be completed with the assistance of a Victim Witness Advocate. To ensure timely notification, applications should be submitted to the DYS Victim Services Unit upon disposition of the case – when a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent by the court and is committed to the Department of Youth Services.
(4) Will the juvenile be informed of the application for notice?
No. All application information is kept confidential.
(5) What happens after the application is filed?
The DYS Victim Services Unit sends a letter to the victim or other eligible individual verifying the application status. Once approved, the DYS Victim Services Unit provides advance verbal and written notice of certain changes in the juvenile’s custody status and/or placement.
(6) Who answers questions about a juvenile committed to the DYS?
Any questions regarding a juvenile in DYS custody should be directed to the Victim Services Unit at 617.960.3290.
(7) What if any contact information changes?
To ensure proper and timely notification, it is important that the DYS Victim Services Unit be informed of any changes in an applicant’s name, address or telephone numbers. Notice cannot be provided without the proper contact information.
For questions regarding the application and notification process contact the DYS Victim Services Unit.
Advocacy, Outreach and Education
The Victim Services Unit works with victims of juvenile crime and significant others to address their needs or safety concerns, answer questions about the commitment and placement process, and provide assistance with accessing appropriate referrals.
Outreach and Education
Presentations regarding the Department of Youth Services, its' programs and the services available to victims is provided for individuals and groups from state agencies and community based organizations across the state. To schedule an information session or formal training, please contact the Victim Services Unit.
The Victim Services Unit at DYS collaborates with allied criminal justice agencies and post conviction programs to better serve victims of crime in Massachusetts. Some of these agencies' weblinks are listed below:
Department of Criminal Justice Information Services
Massachusetts District Attorney's Association
Massachusetts Attorney Generals Office Victim Compensation Division
Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance
Massachusetts Department of Correction Victim Service Unit
Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board Victim Service Unit
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a Juvenile Delinquent and a Youthful Offender?
A juvenile is youth between the ages of seven and eighteen who has been charged with a crime. The complaint is filed in juvenile court and the case is heard before a 6 person jury or a judge in a courtroom that is closed to the public. At the hearing of the case, the Court may continue the case without a finding or adjudicate the child delinquent and either: (a) place the case on file; (b) place the child on probation; or (c) commit the child to the Department of Youth Services until their eighteenth birthday. A Youthful Offender is an adolescent person who is between the ages of fourteen and eighteen who has been charged with a felony and who also has one of the following present:
- a previous commitment to the Department of Youth Services;
- the person is charged with a crime which involves the infliction or threat of serious bodily harm; or
- the person is charged with a crime which involves certain weapons offenses
The District Attorney may proceed by complaint in juvenile court or by indictment. If indicted, the case is heard before a 12 person jury or a judge in a courtroom that is open to the public. If a child is adjudicated a youthful offender, the Court may impose one of the following:
- a sentence provided by law (which means a commitment to the House of Correction or a state prison);
- a combination sentence (which means a DYS sentence plus an adult suspended sentence); or
- a commitment to the Department of Youth Services until the age of twenty one.
What does it mean to be "committed" to the Department of Youth Services?
Once a juvenile is placed in the custody of the Department of Youth Services they will receive treatment and partake in programming. Juveniles are also supervised by a Department of Youth Services Caseworker who monitors their progress and makes recommendations for future programming.
What happens to a juvenile when they are committed to the Department of Youth Services?
Upon commitment to DYS, each juvenile is assessed to determine what programs and treatment are appropriate. Treatment and services are provided to each juvenile in order to ensure a successful transition back to the community.
Does this mean they will be in a secure facility until their 18 th or 21 st birthday?
In accordance with the DYS Classification Grid, a juvenile may spend a portion of his/her commitment in a secure facility and then progress through programs that enable the youth's return to the community.
What happens to a juvenile once he/she is released to the community?
Prior to being released to the community, all youths must sign a Grant of Conditional Liberty Agreement contract. This agreement lists the general terms and conditions of the juvenile's release. While in the community, each youth is supervised by a DYS caseworker and must maintain contact with them.
How do I receive information on a juvenile offender who has been committed to DYS?
To receive notice of release for a juvenile offender who has been adjudicated delinquent and committed to DYS, victims must file a Juvenile Offender Notification and Information (JONI) application with the Victim Services Unit. To receive notice of release for a youthful offender who has been adjudicated and committed to DYS, victims must file an Application for Notice of An Offender's Release with the Criminal History Systems Board Victim Services Unit. Once certified, the DYS Victim Services Unit will provide all notification.
What information will I receive?
Certified individuals will receive advance verbal and written notice of the juvenile's transfer to a less secure facility, temporary or provisional release and final discharge from DYS custody. Notification will also be provided in the event of an escape.
This information is provided by the Department of Youth Services.