- Education and Science
How to Find Out if Someone is In Custody
If you have ever been a victim of crime or know of someone who has been, you know the frustration and worry of knowing that someone in custody could soon be released. The fear and constant looking over your shoulder can be eased by simply registering with Vinelink. You as a victim are entitled by law to be notified upon an inmate’s release from jail or prison.
VineLink was started in 1994 and provides the invaluable service free of cost of notifying victims and their families of an upcoming inmates release or transfer to another institution of that particular offender. Vinelink is the online version of VINE which stands for (Victim Information and Notification Everyday), the National Victim Notification Network.
The program was created sadly after a young woman by the name of Mary Byron was not timely notified of her ex boyfriends release from jail. Although he was arrested for the crimes of assault, rape and stalking he was allowed to post bond. Mary’s ex-boyfriend was released from jail and shortly thereafter found Mary and murdered her. This happens all too often, especially with domestic related crimes.
The Vinelink service allows crime victims to register and obtain reliable information about criminal cases and the custody status of offenders 24 hours a day. Other concerned citizens can also register to be notified by phone, email, or text message when an offender's in custody status changes.
Anyone who has ever been a victim of crime, relatives of minors, and homicide victims have a right to be notified prior to that inmate's release from jail or prison. The Department of Corrections can provide written notification days prior to the inmate's release. Sometimes court actions cause an inmate's immediate release, and notification is provided as soon as possible, based on the victim's current contact information.
The State Attorney's Office is responsible for providing the most current address of the victim to the Department but it is up to you to provide current and updated information to them. If you have moved make sure to notify them. The victim or the victims' family should notify the Department in writing if the victim's address or telephone number changes. Automated notification will be sent if the victim is registered with VINE Service.
Vinelink service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week . The service also allows you to search for information regarding an offender in custody throughout the continental US. Only three states (South Dakota, Maine and Kansas) are not currently participating nor providing such information to Vinelink. The states of Montana, Arizona , Georgia, West Virginia, New Hampshire and Rhode Island have limited information by counties.
At Vinelink.com you can search online by clicking on the state and then click search offenders in custody. Lookup either by offenders name or identification number. The service will in turn provide you with a date of birth , age, custody status, facility offender is being held in and the reporting agency. It is also a useful site to find out if someone is currently in custody in a particular county or area.
- Mary Byron Project
On the evening of December 6, 1993, Mary sat in her car as it warmed up after leaving her job at the Mall St. Matthews. Her former boyfriend approached from the drivers side and fired seven bullets into her head and chest at point blank range, killi
Although the program is a great effort in helping notify victims and aiding to find someone in custody please do not depend only on this program for your protection. Always maintain other contacts with your advocate, attorney or the law enforcement officers assigned to your particular case.