Assisting victims of crime to know their offender’s custody status
The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association (VSA) was awarded a grant from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to implement an automated victim notification system in each local and regional jail in Virginia. VSA contracted with Appriss, Inc., the providers of the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) service to provide a statewide program. The VSA also contracted the services of Virginia Center for Policing Innovation (VCPI) to handle the coordination and logistics of this important program throughout the Commonwealth.
The VA VINE system is a service through which victims of crime can use the telephone or Internet to search for information regarding the custody status of their offender and to register to receive telephone and e-mail notification when the offender’s custody status changes. The toll-free number for the VA VINE system is 1-800-467-4943. This service is provided to assist Victims of Crime who have a right to know about their offender’s custody status.
Through a recent enhancement, VINELink, the online version of VINE, will receive offender photos through an agency’s booking system and display them on the Web interface. If a victim is unsure of the offender’s age, full name, or related information, viewing a photo allows him or her to positively identify an offender. Users must click the “Show Photo” button before an offender’s photo is displayed. This feature was added to avoid re-victimizing an individual.
The VINE system also provides the infrastructure to support an advancement of the existing Virginia Sex Offender Registry. Virginians have been able to search for addresses of registered sex offenders by zip code, but can now sign up to receive automated notification on a particular sex offender’s change in address and other tracked information.
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