The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association (VSA) in conjunction with the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation (VCPI) announce an enhancement to the Virginia VINE Program. VSA and VCPI have worked with Appriss, Inc. (the technology service provider) since 2006 to deliver VA VINE, an automated victim notification service, providing real-time information on VA’s incarcerated offenders to the citizens of the Commonwealth.
These notifications are delivered to individuals who have registered against a particular offender and detail any change in the custody status of that offender (release, transfer, etc.). The service provides victims with a tool they can use as part of their larger personal safety plan. VSA and VCPI are now excited to announce the addition of Short Messaging Service (SMS) for the VINE program to the Commonwealth’s 72 local and regional jail facilities. This enhancement, commonly known as text messaging, was launched during the latter part of November. The new, expanded service is available in both English and Spanish, providing an additional and reliable method for victims in their receipt of this critical information.
“Virginia sheriffs express appreciation to Sheriff Vanessa Crawford for receiving the federal grant through the City of Petersburg to make this possible,” said VSA Executive Director John Jones.
Since the service was launched in Virginia, VINE has delivered more than 195,000 email notifications and supported over 2.8 million searches by phone. As of November 2015, the Commonwealth had 27,684 offenders in custody in local and regional jails and 35,475 VINE users registered.
VINE Mobile App was launched in April of 2013 and has since recorded over 1 million mobile searches in Virginia. The Commonwealth is ranked 29th out of 47 VINE states in the country for number of registrants (Washington D.C. is counted as a state). The VA VINE system also provides access to the Virginia Statewide Sex Offender Registry.
To register, victims and other concerned citizens can call VA VINE at 1-800-467-4943 or go online to www.vinelink.com. Registrants need to know the incarcerated person’s last name and at least the first initial of the first name. Once an offender has been identified in the system, the registrant selects a PIN number to be used for notification. When the offender is released, transferred or if they escape from jail, the registrant is notified within 15 minutes via phone and/or email and asked to enter the PIN number to verify the message was received. Phone calls continue every 30 minutes until the PIN number is entered. The PIN entry stops the notification calls for this event. The service provides registrants notification and/or information of an offender’s custody status 24 hours a day.