A Victim Impact Statement (VIS) is essentially a letter to the Judge (Court) in which they describe how a victim's life has been affected and/or changed as a result of the crime. The VIS is read at sentencing upon a criminal conviction and can describe any financial, physical, and/or emotional effects that you, or others within your family, have experienced. The statement can be oral or written and can be delivered to the court in a number of ways:
Attend the sentencing hearing and read the VIS to the court aloud
Read to the court by an advocate for the victim or the prosecuting attorney
Request the judge read it to themself
Ultimately, the Court has final discretion on the sentence a defendant receives. Victim impact statements (VIS) are considered the most effective way to ensure that your voice as a victim is heard by the Court prior to sentencing. It also provides a victim with the opportunity to share an opinion on what should be included in a defendant’s sentence or disposition (i.e. jail/prison time, community service, treatment programs, probation conditions, etc.)
If you would like to complete a Victim Impact Statement or would like more information, please contact the Victim Assistance Coordinator at (320) 983-8305. More information can also be found on the printable brochure Minnesota Office of Justice Programs (PDF).