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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
December 20, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

 

John R. Hagerty
609-984-1936

 

Attorney General Updates Statewide Victim Notification Program
Victim Information & Notification Everyday (VINE) Provides 24/7 Information to Victims About Custody Status of Offenders in State & County Jails

Victim Information & Registration - 1-877-VINE-4-NJ or www.njdcj.org

>> VINE brochure (688K pdf) plug-in

TRENTON - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey today announced that a statewide computer-based victim assistance program which provides 24/7 information and notification to crime victims and their families about the custody status of offenders in state and county jails is on track to be fully operational in New Jersey’s 21 counties in January, 2006. Additionally, the Attorney General issued a formal Directive (2005-5) to New Jersey prosecutor’s outlining victim rights and program guidelines, implementation, and notification procedures.

According to Attorney General Harvey, New Jersey joins 36 other states across the nation in implementing the Victim Information & Notification Everyday (VINE) Program. VINE provides crime victims and their families 24/7 access to offender custody and case information and automatically notifies the registered victim or family member about any change in offender status, including the release from prison or jail. The implementation of New Jersey’s VINE was coordinated by the Attorney General’s Office, Division of Criminal Justice, Office of Victim-Witness Advocacy.

“Today, New Jersey nears full implementation of a very important program that gives crime victims and their families the information they need, when they need it,” Attorney General Harvey said. “New Jersey VINE is available in both English and Spanish, with live operator assistance for anyone contacting the toll-free information number at 1-877-VINE-4-NJ (846-3465).”

Joining the Attorney General to announce New Jersey VINE were Assistant Attorney General Patricia Prezioso, Director, Law Enforcement Services, Division of Criminal Justice, Sandra McGowan, Office of Victim Witness Advocacy, Jackie Simonson, Atlantic County VINE Program, victim witness advocates, and law enforcement personnel. The Attorney General also acknowledged the commitment of New Jersey’s the 21 county prosecutor’s offices and the more than 550 local, county, and state police departments participation in the VINE Program.

According to Assistant Attorney General Prezioso, the Attorney General’s Directive requires all New Jersey law enforcement to establish the VINE program and encourages all crime victims to participate by registering with local police. VINE begins when a crime is reported to police. The victim (or family member) provides a telephone number(s) and a four-digit personal identification number (PIN) to police. The contact information is included on the Victim Information Form provided to the county correctional facility when the offender is committed to jail. The county correctional facility enters the victim information, including the telephone numbers and PIN, into a centralized computer which registers the victim with VINE. When the county correctional facility releases or transfers an offender to another correctional facility, VINE automatically notifies the victim by telephone, calling all the telephone numbers provided by the victim, at one-half hour intervals. If the system is unable to contact the victim within twenty-four hours, a letter is sent to the victim by the County Prosecutor’s Victim Witness Coordinator.

The New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice has implemented VINE in nineteen counties with the remaining two counties (Bergen and Passaic) scheduled to roll-out in January 2006. VINE was funded via a $617,000 federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant with no cost to the counties. To date, more than 7,200 victims have registered with VINE, including: Atlantic, 1233; Burlington, 445; Camden, 599; Cape May, 340; Cumberland, 325; Essex, 221; Gloucester, 250; Hudson, 155; Hunterdon, 55; Mercer, 215; Middlesex, 595; Monmouth, 197; Morris, 773; Ocean, 628; Salem, 121; Somerset, 85; Sussex, 46; Union, 927; and Warren, 24. Victims registered with VINE will be notified automatically by the system of an offender’s custody release or correctional system transfer. Registered victims can confirm an offender’s status through a toll-free number - 1-877-VINE-4-NJ (846-3465), twenty-four hours per day seven days a week.

For more information about VINE, go to the Division of Criminal Justice Web site - Victim Witness at www.njdcj.org.

>> VINE brochure (688K pdf) plug-in

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