Attorney General Hardy Myers and the Oregon Department of Corrections today marked the debut of the new Victim Information Notification Everyday (VINE) system, an automated victim notification system. To mark the occasion, the first crime victim to be enrolled in the new system registered in the presence of officials and the media at the State Capitol in Salem.
VINE is a free, anonymous, computer-based system that uses state-of-the-art technology and a centralized call center to connect victims and concerned citizens with vital offender information through a 24-hour-a-day toll-free telephone hotline. The program is a joint effort between the Oregon Department of Justice and the Oregon Department of Corrections and in cooperation with the Oregon State Sheriffs Association and the Oregon Youth Authority.
"The VINE program will bring a new level of safety to victims of crime in our community." Myers said. "Access to offender information is a critical step as these victims reconstruct their lives."
Victims of crime and concerned citizens who call the VINE hotline are able to access a database containing information on over 41,000 offenders in Oregon. By entering the name or state identification number of an offender, callers can access the following information:
Name of the offender
Offender state identification number
Current offender and probationer custody status
Location of offender: institution name or community corrections location
Scheduled release date
Community supervision expiration date
Crime victims and concerned citizens may also register for the VINE notification program. VINE automatically calls registered participants if there is a change in the status of an offender. The triggers for notification include lawful release, escape, work release, parole hearings and sixteen other scenarios.
"With one call, the VINE system allows victims and citizens to access information that would previously have taken four or five phone calls and a great deal of time," said Keith Benefiel, a Department of Corrections official and the VINE project manager.
The program currently includes all offenders in the state corrections system, including those on parole and probation. By October 2002, all county jails and the Oregon Youth Authority will also be participating, adding over 7,500 additional offenders to the program.
The toll-free VINE phone number is 1-877-OR-4-VINE (1-877-674-8463) and the service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in both English and Spanish.
Perrin Damon, Department of Corrections, (503) 945-0925
Kristen Grainger, (503) 378-6002