Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Crime Victim Notification, A Life or Death Responsibility

Advocates play many roles however one of the most critical is to facilitate offender information and status notification. Law enforcement agencies are required to provide victim assistance information to the crime victims they encounter. Advocates can help ensure that appropriate updated referrals are made by reviewing and updating LE agency's handouts to add notification numbers and information. Advocates can assist victims in registering for notification or do it for them. Advocates can also register themselves to relay or respond to changes.

In Michigan the William Van Regenmorter Crime Victims Rights Act requires jails and prisons to notify victims when their assailants are released. The Michigan Crime Victim Notification Network (MCVNN), part of the national VINE system, is a free tool available to all sheriffs that satisfies the statutory requirement.

VINE is available nationwide and was developed in Kentucky in 1994 after Mary Byron was murdered. Mary had been raped, assaulted, and stalked by her former boyfriend in late 1993. He was arrested and jailed for these crimes, but someone posted his bail and he was released. There was no way for Mary to know.After leaving work on the evening of December 6, 1993, Mary sat in her car as it warmed up. Her former boyfriend approached from the driver's side and fired seven bullets into her head and chest at point blank range, killing her. It was Mary’s 21st birthday.

In Jefferson County, Kentucky, where Mary lived, the community was stunned and outraged. County officials and software engineers worked long and diligently to design a system that would let crime victims know whether their offenders are in jail, where they are held, and when they are released. County Judge/Executive Dave Armstrong made this a top priority, and led the effort. Exactly one year after Mary’s murder, Jefferson County became the first community to institute automated telephone notification for crime victims and other concerned citizens

Across the country, VINE® gives crime victims and other concerned citizens access to timely and reliable information about criminal cases and the custody status of offenders 24 hours a day - over the telephone, through the Internet, or by e-mail.Victims can access offender custody status information and register to be notified immediately in the event of an offender's release, transfer, or escape.
Victims have free, anonymous access to critical data at all times
Around-the-clock support from live operators who assist victims and monitor all VINE systems
Saves taxpayers money by eliminating the need to manually notify victims, allowing staff to focus on their core responsibilities
V.I.N.E. Fact Sheet
VINE Spring Newsletter

VINE Courts:
Access to court information is available quickly and conveniently with VINE Courts, a fully automated service that provides victims and other interested parties with up-to-date information about their court cases via telephone or Web portal. Victims can obtain an update just by making a toll-free telephone call, and can register to be notified by telephone, e-mail or letter about a change in the status of their cases.
Public Web portal provides around-the-clock access to case status and hearing date and location
Notifies registrants about upcoming hearings, date and location changes, postponements, cancellations, and other court events
Can be implemented as a stand-alone service or seamlessly integrated into an existing VINE system
V.I.N.E Courts Fact Sheet

No comments:

Post a Comment

Fair Use:This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available for educational purposes to advance our understanding of social justice and human rights issues including gender-based violence. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C…. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Tuscola County Victim Services's Fan Box