Keeping tabs on abusers


| jlyons@queenscourier.com |

Domestic violence victims can keep informed about abusers who have been incarcerated through the Victim Information & Notification Everyday (VINE) system.
The system is available both on the city level and the state level.
Once a victim registers with VINE, they are able to receive inmate release information and inmate custody information. It is a free, 24-hour hotline that is open to crime victims, their friends and family members, crime advocates, counselors and service providers.
The system is available in English and Spanish. It also includes email alerts.
“As part of our safety planning with our clients we inform them and assist them in registering for VINE. We generally do this at the earliest outreach point,” said associate vice president of Queens Community and Criminal Justice Programs at Safe Horizon Carol Dougherty-Steptoe. “We have the client sign up for VINE and she is then directly notified either via email or phone letting her know if the defendant has been released. The purpose is to keep the client informed at all times and helps to ensure her safety once she knows he’s back out on the street.”
VINE can notify individuals about inmates with the NYC Department of Corrections (DOC) and New York State Department of Correctional Services, as well as those who are in one of 60 county correctional facilities.
In addition to being able to use the system to verify that an inmate is in custody, individuals can also register “to receive an automated telephone alert if the inmate is released or transferred from DOC custody.”
Callers can register with VINE by calling 1-888-VINE-4NY or online at www.VINELink.com.
“All the client needs is the defendant NYSID number, full name and date of birth or the DOC’s information,” Dougherty-Steptoe explained. “The client will receive either a call or email alerting to her regarding if the defendant has been released.”
For more information, visit www.nyc.gov or www.docs.state.ny.us.

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