Monday, October 24, 2011

CDCR Announces Statewide Electronic Notification for Crime Victims

SACRAMENTO– The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS) today announced that victims of crime will be able to receive automated electronic notification of an offender’s release or scheduled parole board hearing.

Senate Bill 852, passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in September 2011, amended the victim’s notification law to allow for electronic notification. Previously, the law required such notices to be sent by mail. The Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) service will allow victims, family members of victims, or witnesses who have testified against an offender to register for notification by phone or e-mail.

As part of the enhancement of the system, counties and the state will now be offering access and services to Spanish-speaking victims. The system will soon also send electronic notifications of an offender’s escape, death, or scheduled execution.

“This new, automated system brings victim notification in line with modern technology and with how most people receive their information,” CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said. “It’s essential that victims are kept informed of their rights and, if they choose, aware of their offender’s custody status on a real-time basis.”

Currently, OVSRS delivers more than 20,000 paper-based notifications annually to victims of CDCR inmates. CDCR has approximately 143,000 inmates in its 33 institutions and another 16,000 inmates in its out-of-state correctional facilities, community correctional facilities and conservation camps.

The statewide automated 24-hour VINE service will send a 90-day advance notice of release to victims for offenders sentenced under the Determinate Sentencing Law. For offenders sentenced under the Indeterminate Sentencing Law who have a parole consideration hearing with the Board of Parole Hearings, a 90-day advance notice will be sent, followed by a 14-day confirmation notice of the hearing.

The system also will notify victims of the escape, scheduled execution, or death of the offender, if applicable.

VINE also provides access to information about inmates in county correctional facilities through the California State Sheriff’s Association (CSSA). After receiving a Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) grant for $500,000 in July 2009, CDCR and CSSA jointly developed a cohesive tool to assist victims from the trial/conviction phase at the county level, to the incarceration phase – whether county jail or state prison -- and then to the final re-entry phase of parole or probation.

“The VINE system is cost-effective and provides easy access for victims who have been through enough adversity already,” said Jean Scott, Acting Chief of the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services. “This automated system will allow victims to obtain access to information 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, thereby expanding CDCR’s outreach to crime victims.”

If you are a victim of an offender who is serving time in a CDCR facility, you can contact the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services at (877) 256-6877 for assistance in registering for VINE service.

The VINE service operator is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to assist and can be reached at (877) 411-5588; TTY: (866) 847-1298.

VINE service is also available online at http://www.vinelink.com/.

For all other non-victim-related services, you can contact CDCR Inmate Locator at (916) 445-6713 or access the online service at: http://inmatelocator.cdcr.ca.gov/

For more information about CDCR’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services, visit CDCR’s website here: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Victim_Services/index.html


###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday October 24, 2011
CONTACT: Dana Toyama
(916) 445-4950