Impact statements are used by Police Officers, Probation Officers, City and County Attorneys and the Courts to show the negative “impact” an individual has on a community. This is the community’s opportunity to speak out on individuals whose activities affect their sense of safety and well being in their neighborhood.
At the April Armatage Neighborhood Association meeting Lisa Eder from Hennepin County Victim Services, urged residents to fill out a Community Impact Statement regarding the incident that occurred in the neighborhood.
The purpose of victim impact statements is to allow crime victims, during the decision-making process on sentencing or parole, to describe to the court or parole board the impact of the crime. A judge may use information from these statements to help determine an offender’s sentence.
For most victims of crime, these statements provide them an opportunity to focus the court’s attention on the human cost of the crime and allow the victims to become a part of the criminal justice process. This process can put a human face on crimes that judges see every day.
Preparing a victim impact statement offers victims an opportunity to express their feelings to the judge or the parole board when it comes to sentencing issues.
Victim impact statements don’t have to follow a prescribed legal format. You’re free to tell the court in your own words whatever you want the judge or parole panel to know. You might want to talk about how the crime affected you. You can explain how your life is different now from how it was before the crime occurred, both for you and your family. You can end by describing what you are hoping the court will do: send the person to jail, order the person to get treatment or order the person to stay out of a particular area.
Remember: it is more important to send an impact statement than to worry about how it is written. Just send it! You do not have to give your full name. Whatever you write will be presented and can improve the safety of your community.
After hearing about a disturbing violent crime, like the one that occurred in the Armatage Neighborhood, it is comforting to know that there is something that you can do that will have an impact.
Community Impact Statement form