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Network Notifies Victims of Offenders' Release from Behind Bars - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Network Notifies Victims of Offenders' Release from Behind Bars

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Victims of crimes across the commonwealth can feel safer thanks to a national program that notifies them when their offenders are released.

Its called the Victim Information and Notification Everyday Network (VINE) and 47 states in the country, including Virginia, use it in their jail and prison systems.

All 72 jails in Virginia, including the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, are now online with the program.

"How many times have we heard how someone has been released from jail and their victim did not know that they were out of jail and they showed up on their doorstep?” said Patricia Conwell, VINE project coordinator.

Situations like these are exactly why the VINE network was started in Virginia.

"It makes people feel more comfortable and secure realizing that they don't always have to look behind their back or over their shoulder wondering if the offender has been released,” said Conwell.

VINE servers are housed inside jails to pool and distribute data on every inmate. Victims are notified within 15 minutes of their offender's release or transfer.

"Each jail has a different booking system and so each jail does things differently, but this program is attached to every jail in the state,” said Conwell.

The Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail uses the system and that comes as a great comfort to workers at the Sexual Assault Resource Agency in Charlottesville.

"For a lot of people there's a lot of anxiety. You know if they've used the criminal justice system and their offender has gone away for let's say five years and obviously they know when that five years is going to end and they're really worried about where is this person going to be, where are they going to be living,” said Jasmine Brock, SARA adult advocate.

The biggest comfort is just having knowledge.

"It's really helpful for people to know so that they can prepare themselves physically and also emotionally for their offender's release,” said Brock.

Victims can register online at vinelink.com. Operators say the servers in jails do not go offline very often, but even if they do, victims are notified within moments of the event and kept up to date on when they will come online.

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