Sheriff offers inmate status alerts

Victims of crimes, attacks, or more can feel a lot safer in Union County now due to a new system that has just been implemented at the Union County Jail that can notify the victim when the offender has been released from jail.

The Union County Sheriff’s Department has become the latest agency to adopt the state’s SAVIN program, an around-the-clock automated system that notifies crime victims and other concerned citizens about the custody status of offenders.
MS SAVIN program is Mississippi’s Statewide Automated Victim Information Notification Service that provides crime victims, victim advocates, and other concerned citizens free and confidential notification regarding a particular state and/or county inmate’s release, transfer or escape from participating agencies.
This program can provide registered users access to timely information about particular offenders 24 hours a day, over the phone, through the Internet, by e-mail, or text messaging.
Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said, “Protecting our citizens is always our highest priority. SAVIN provides an added level of protection because it gives anyone access to information about offenders throughout the state. We are delighted to make this important service available to the public. SAVIN is designed with the victim in mind. It’s user-friendly. What makes it special is the automatic notification feature – as long as you have a telephone or a computer, you can receive an automated alert anytime of the day or night. That kind of protection is critically important to anyone who’s concerned about the whereabouts of an offender.”
Crime victims and other concerned citizens can register for the SAVIN program by calling 1-888-9-MSSAVIN, online www.vinelink.com, or through the new VINEMobile all for iPhone or Android. Users can check the status of an offender anytime day or night will be automatically notified when there is a change in that offender’s custody status. The service is cost-free and anonymous.
VINE stands for Victim Information and Notification Everyday. VINE/SAVIN services are currently not provided in the following counties: Benton, Coahoma, Copiah, Hinds, Neshoba, Newton, Pike, Quitman, Tallahatchie, and Warren.
“It is a great tool for law enforcement, judges, victims, and more. This system lets the person know when the offender is bonded out of jail. The system can notify the person by a phone call, email or text,” said Edwards. “It is a tool for citizens to feels safer and more comfortable. It is useful for law enforcement officers, victims of domestic violence, and more. It is nice to be able to go to a victim of a crime and tell them that they can be notified when that person is released.”
People will also be notified if an inmate escapes from the jail.
In addition to the VINES program, the department also received five new computers to update the jail’s booking system. The Board of Supervisors approved the cost of $35,000 from last year’s budget from the county’s general fund for the VINES system and the computers.
So far, 1109 people have been booked this year in the Union County Jail.
“Sometimes before someone is arrested, he or she will threaten the victim to hurt them when they are released from jail. You never know if someone is going to follow through on a threat. That’s why this system is such a useful tool so that victim is immediately notified when that person is bonded out of jail,” said Edwards. “My goal as sheriff is to make the citizens of this community feel as safe as they can. I am proud now to be able to let citizens of Union County know that this is available for them. It is useful in so many ways to our citizens.”
MS SAVIN is a project of the Mississippi Department of Corrections provided by a grant from the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Do not depend only on this program for your protection. Maintain other contacts with your advocate, attorney or law enforcement officers assigned to your case.
If you are registering as a victim for an offender under the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, you can also register with the Division of Victim Services by contacting (866) 522-4087.
For more information, contact Mississippi Department of Corrections Office of MS SAVIN via email at mssavin@mdoc.state.ms.us or via phone at (601) 359-5759.
 

About Chris Elkins

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