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County joins WI-VINE


Site allows user to view an inmate's status



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May 07, 2013 | 02:17 PM
Walworth County residents will now have quick access to custody information on offenders in the county jail, according to a press release from the Walworth County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff David Graves activated the WI-VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) service, an automated system that notifies registered Crime victims, law enforcement personnel, concerned citizens, and community members when offenders are released from jail and also provides around-the-clock access to offender information either by telephone or the Internet.

In addition to Crime victims, the WI-VINE system can be used by family members, neighbors, business owners, law enforcement officers, criminal justice professionals or anyone impacted by Crime who is interested in knowing the location and custody status of criminal defendants and offenders housed in the Walworth County jail.

"Protecting the citizens of Walworth County is always our highest priority," Graves said. "The WI-VINE service provides an added level of protection because it gives everyone access to timely and accurate information on offenders in our county and other counties throughout the state that currently offer the WI-VINE service. My command staff has worked very hard to implement this service and I am appreciative of the support we received locally in order to participate in this program."

County residents who are interested in inquiring about an offender or receiving automated notification of an offender's change in status can call (888) 944-8463 or log on to www.vinelink.com and search by an offender's name or booking number to obtain custody information. Those choosing to register for automated notification will be able to register multiple phones and/or e-mail addresses where they will be automatically notified when an offender is released, transferred, escapes from custody or his or her status changes. In addition, live operator assistance is available 24 hours a day through the toll-free number, (888) 944-8463, seven days a week for callers who have questions or require additional help.

"The WI-VINE service has been in operation throughout the United States for more than 16 years and the service is certainly designed with the victim in mind. It is very user-friendly," Walworth County Clerk of Courts Sheila Reiff said. "What makes it special is the automatic notification feature — as long as you have a telephone or a computer, you can receive an automated alert any time of the day or night. This level of protection and notification is critically important to anyone who's concerned about the whereabouts of an offender."

The activation of the WI-VINE service was funded by a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Since 2005, the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) grant program administered by the BJA has nearly doubled the number of states providing automated victim notification. The goal of the SAVIN program is to increase public safety and improve vital criminal justice decisions by ensuring that victims and community members are given timely and accurate information that enhances their ability to protect themselves.

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