Getting the word: State near victim safety milestone
Sometime this summer, Tennessee will hit a major milestone in protecting the safety of crime victims.
Currently, 94 of the state’s 95 counties have implemented the Tennessee SAVIN — Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification — program, and the remaining county is expected to come online this summer.
SAVIN works with the National Victim Information and Notification Everyday program to help provide victims of crime notification when the person who committed the crime is being released from custody. The SAVIN and VINE programs allow a person who has been a victim of a crime to register anonymously to receive updates on the custody status of the offender through automated phone calls, text messages, e-mails or through the program’s mobile app available for smart phones.
“We’re very pleased to be able to provide this service and are looking forward to having every county online in the very near future,” said Gary Cordell, SAVIN program coordinator for the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association. “The sheriffs in Tennessee are very concerned about the safety of our victims and their continued support of the program has made it successful.”
Carter County is among the 94 counties in Tennessee that already have the automated notification in place.
“When we went to the new jail with the new JailTracker program, we went 100 percent live,” said Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes. JailTracker is the software program used by the Carter County Detention Center to book and release inmates. The program automatically connects with the SAVIN and VINE programs to send out alerts to registered users when the status of the inmate they are registered against changes.
Mathes said the program can help provide peace of mind to victims by allowing them to check on the status of an offender at any time.
“It is a great opportunity not only for victims but anyone to check an inmate’s status and release date,” Mathes said. “I am proud of the program and it is a great opportunity to reach out and help victims.”
The VINE Program was founded in 1993 in response to the murder of a young woman named Mary Byron in Jefferson County, Ky., according to the program’s website, which links visitors to the website of the Mary Byron Project, which was also founded in response to her death.
SAVIN registrations across the state have increased nearly 40 percent during the past 12 months, according to the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association.
To register for the program or for more information call 888-868-4631 or visit www.vinelink.com. The program can also be accessed through the VINEmobile app which is available for both Android and iPhone devices.