Before the advent of interface technology, the only method in order to find out if a certain prisoner has been released from prison is to verify the fact of release, via telephone call or personally, from the local prosecutor’s office or from the holding facility where the prisoner is being held. Now, this information can easily be accessed through the internet via the VINE system.
The Vine System or the Victim Information and Notification Everyday is a Victim Alert Notification System which was initiated for the purpose of alerting the victims that the accused is about to be released on a particular date. This fact is particularly important for the victims, specifically in sexually related offenses, in order for them to implement some security measures in order to avoid contact with the prisoner. The information being relayed by this system is up-to-date and includes automatic notification of the information to the victim. The system allows easy access to information regarding the criminal cases and custody status of the offenders for 24 hours everyday.
This service is free for the victims, their families and any other interested persons. Victims may register online for the service. The identities of persons who registered will be kept confidential and will not be released to the prisoners. However, due to the growing number of records of prisoners in the country, more information is needed in order to access the release information of a particular prisoner. The following information may be required by the service: first and last name, middle initial, aliases, case number, court location, social security number, former address, date of birth, and location of jail.
The information released by the VINE must be taken seriously. Victims who are notified of the date of release of a prisoner may take precautionary measures in order to protect themselves if they are vulnerable to being harmed or attacked. If the victim feels that the prisoner may initiate contact, he or she may petition the court for the issuance of a temporary restraining order. But, this act may expose the current address of the victim. Thus, in order for the victim to be fully protected, he or she may petition the court for the issuance of a permanent restraining order. This shall prevent the prisoner from making contact with the victim. Any act or plan of future harm or attach may also be prevented.