When Victims Have a Right to Know Automating Notification with VINE®


This report examines a handful of jurisdictions using a commercial system called VINE®, which stands for Victim Information and Notification Everyday. The VINE Company set up the first automated victim notification system four years ago in Jefferson County, Kentucky. It grew out of a murder that occurred a year earlier. A man accused of raping and kidnapping his ex-girlfriend posted bond, was released from a Louisville jail, and one week later, shot her to death. Manual notification procedures failed, and she had no warning of his release. The crime became a symbol of the justice system's failure to serve victims. This report explores automated notification by looking at how VINE® operates in a handful of communities ranging in size from small cities to entire states. It captures the views and experiences of criminal justice officials who plan and oversee VINE® systems, victim advocates within and outside government, and VINE Company staff—individuals who occupy very different roles and therefore offer different perspectives. Within this framework lies another agenda, an interest in finding out how VINE® affects victims of domestic violence in particular.