New program to track inmates

New program to track inmates

BRISTOL, Va. - Crime victims in Bristol, Virginia can now keep track of offenders.

A new program is being launched that sends alerts when the status on inmates changes or they're released from jail.

We caught up with police and learned the system is free and now 100 percent of Virginia jails are linked together.

Commit a crime and you'll spend time in jail, but that's no guarantee for the victim. "Usually in Virginia there is a set number of days that [inmates] are required to serve, 85 percent of their time. So it's easily scheduled but not necessarily for  victim," said Jerry Wolfe, Bristol, Virginia Commonwealth's Attorney.

To better protect those victims, Bristol law enforcement is launching a new program called VINE, or Victim Information and Notification Everyday.

It's a way for people to check on inmates at the city jail. "It's real-time. Every 15 minutes it does a hit of the jails in Virginia and if they register for a person every 15 minutes it would pick up a movement of a release or change in custody status," said John Jones, Executive Director for the Virginia Sheriff's Association.

People simply have to register online and can receive updates by phone, internet, or email 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"They can protect themselves and take whatever action is necessary to prevent further victimization," added Jones.

It's a system that helps those victims who often don't have a voice. "Domestic violence is so much about power and control. So for the victim to be given some sense of control over their own situation and power to know what's going on is a real change for them," said Kathy Johnson with Abuse Alternatives.

The VINE program is currently in 47 states and it's also a tool to track the statewide sex offender registry.

To find out more information on VINE or sign up you can click here.

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