KY Victim Notification Network Expands To Inform Victims Of Court Dates

AOC News: Court information now available to victims through VINE Court Service from Kentucky Law Review. From the press release:

For 12 years the safety of victims and the acronym VINE have gone hand in hand in Kentucky. Now that protection has extended beyond the confines of the jail cell, when offenders are released from custody, and into the courtroom.

The Kentucky Department of Corrections and the Kentucky Court of Justice have collaborated to implement the new VINE Court Service program. The program will allow victims in 17 Kentucky counties to register to be notified about changes in an offender’s status and about upcoming court events in felony cases through the automatic notification system VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday).

VINE Court Service went live in the Daviess County pilot site on Sept. 24, 2007, and will be implemented in 16 other Kentucky counties by Oct. 15, 2007. The other counties are Boone, Boyd, Bullitt, Campbell, Christian, Fayette, Franklin, Hardin, Kenton, Laurel, McCracken, Oldham, Pike, Shelby, Spencer and Warren.

“Crime victims shouldn’t have to worry about when their offenders are going to be in court – they deserve every bit of protection we can provide,” said Corrections Commissioner John D. Rees. “This grant has enabled us to enhance our VINE service to take the notification system into the court arena and through this partnership with the Kentucky Court of Justice, crime victims who use this service will have one more layer of protection.”

"This new level of notification will help ensure the safety of crime victims and give them a greater opportunity to participate in Kentucky’s legal process," said Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert. "This is a positive collaboration with the Department of Corrections that furthers our ongoing efforts to improve public access to state courts."

Victims can register to be notified by e-mail, telephone or both by visiting www.courts.ky.gov or by calling the VINE 800 number at 800-511-1670. Live operator assistance will be available 24/7 in both English and Spanish.

VINE Court Service is funded through a Bureau of Justice Assistance grant the Department of Corrections received to enhance its victims service programs. VINE Court Service will be expanded if additional funding becomes available. In 1996, Kentucky became the first state in the nation to offer automated statewide victim notification. The Department of Corrections contracts with Louisville-based Appriss Inc., developer of the VINE system, to deliver the service.

Can't wait until it expands to Jefferson County. This is a huge improvement. While it is nice for victims to have a "heads up" when the perpurtator is released from jail, it would be so much better to have notice of the court proceeding to have input on whether the inmate ought to be released.