By the end of the year, victims of crime in central Kansas will be able to track the status of offenders in the Barton County Jail. They can receive an automatic notification if the offender is released or moved to another facility.
An automated system called VINE — Victim Information and Notification Everyday — is being implemented statewide.
“This system is very important to the victims of these crimes in Barton County,” Jail Administrator Brad Patzner said. “The victims will be notified through different means on the current status of their offenders.”
Patzner said some of the infrastructure is already in place here. All they are waiting for is the software to be downloaded, then officers must be trained on how to use the new system.
Unlike the state prison system, which is centralized through the Department of Corrections, the county jails are separately operated by individual counties. Before VINE, there was no central source of information available to crime victims about offenders held in county jails.
VINE is a free and anonymous service provided through the collaboration of the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, the Kansas Department of Labor and the Kansas Sheriffs Association.
The VINE system allows victims of crime to use the telephone or internet to search for information regarding the custody status of their offender in a county jail and to register to receive notification when the offender’s custody status changes, such as when the offender is released from jail.
Information that will be available includes an offender’s name, offender number, current custody status, location and scheduled release date if available.
In addition to information about offenders housed in county jails, the Kansas VINE system allows access to offender information in other participating states. Kansas VINE is available in multiple languages and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Kansas VINE serves as a vital community safety resource for victims, victim advocates, victim assistance staff, criminal justice professionals, and community members,” Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. “It is an additional source of information for victims of these crimes that they can incorporate into their safety strategies.”
So far, 18 counties have been activated. Over the next two years, remaining counties across Kansas will complete the data management integration and become activated.
For additional information about the system and how to register, visit the attorney general’s website ag.ks.gov/victim-services/kansas-vine.
“The Sheriffs of Kansas and Kansas Sheriffs Association are excited about VINE coming to Kansas and consider it one of the most important public safety initiatives we have been involved in. As Kansas VINE becomes live in our counties, we can’t help but feel this will greatly enhance the victims’ knowledge and allow them to better prepare their safety plan for future use,” Executive Director of the Kansas Sheriffs Association Sandy Horton said.
Implementation of Kansas VINE is in the beginning phase. For additional information about the system and how to register, visit the attorney general’s website ag.ks.gov/victim-services/kansas-vine.