CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVNS) — There is good news for crime victims in West Virginia. The state’s Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced on Wednesday they expanded the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) network to include all 10 regional jails.
The network helps protect and empower crime victims and survivors by providing timely and reliable offender information. The free service allows victims to anonymously check an offender’s custody status. They can also receive real-time alerts on changes to an offender’s custody status by app, phone, email and/or text.
“It is very important for safety, for victims to be notified or to be able to know when the offender is getting back onto the street or has posted bond,” said Commissioner Betsy Jividen.
“They can rest easy at night, knowing where their perpetrator is,” added Tonia Tomas, a team coordinator with the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “And when perpetrators get released, they can also prepare for that release and maybe prepare for their safety and take extra precautions.”
West Virginia began expanding VINE to the regional jails in May. The process wrapped up in September when the last two jails were added. The enhanced system’s new features include an interactive VINE Service Provider Directory that allows users seeking assistance to connect directly with both local and national victim service providers. There are currently 16 service providers that have joined the VINE directory in West Virginia.
According to a release from the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, the VINE network had thousands of users in 2018. Here is a look at the figures:
- 23,088 West Virginians registered to use VINE’s services.
- 14,969 notifications provided to West Virginia VINE users through outbound calls, emails, text messages, letters and TTY, a device used to communicate with hearing or speech impaired individuals.
- 40,342 offender searches conducted using the VINE website and mobile applications, with 27,508 of those via DCR.