MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Peace of mind could be just a telephone call
for crime victims around the state by the end of the year,
That's when a new automated telephone system will be expanded
to notify victims and other interested people when
criminals are released
from jail or state prison.
The VINE system, for Victim Information and Notification Everyday,
updated arrest and custody data by telephone 24 hours a day.
It has been
used for about three years in Scott County and went
online Monday in Douglas
Other counties will follow over the next year.
To be notified, a crime victim or any interested person must
by calling 1-877-664-8463. There is no charge. The caller is
given an identification
number and enters an offender's name or
Social Security number to get updated
information. The victim will be
notified the day an offender is released.
VINE is already used in 39 states and parts of Canada, said Mary
executive director of the Minnesota Center for Crime Victim
She said VINE also helps the criminal justice system, which until
has been responsible for calling victims when offenders are
Operated by Appriss Inc., the system will be paid for with up to
in federal money, Ellison said. Counties only have to pay
for their staff
time to connect a new computer to their jail booking
By making such information available "we give victims a voice in
justice process," said Charlie Weaver, the Public Safety
"We understand the importance of information to crime
A woman who used VINE in Scott County said it gave her a sense of
to know when her assailant, a former boyfriend, was in or
out of jail.
The 23-year-old woman, who asked not to be named because she still
the man, said she obtained an order for protection against him
domestic assault a few years ago. But he continued to
threaten her for
months by phone and at her home, where she lived
"It was very helpful to know I could call any time of day to see
he was in jail or not," she said. "He knew I knew when he was out,
I would not go around town when he was out."
Ellison said the system continues to notify victims even if they
to another state, as long as they leave a current phone number.
if a released inmate moves to a county or state that doesn't
the automated notice ends.
All 87 Minnesota counties have been notified and none objected to
the system, which is voluntary, she said. She expects most
be online by the end of the year. County detention
workhouses, will be included.