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Jill Atwood ReportingThe state of Utah is joining 44 other states in offering the victims of a crime a way to keep tabs on those who committed the crime. Starting Wednesday, anyone wondering about the status of an inmate, more specifically a release date, can just pick up the phone.
The new automated system is called the VINE system ,or Victim Information and Notification Everyday.
This has been a long time coming, and according to the Department of Corrections, finally victims of especially violent crimes can feel some control again. Victim advocates say they receive at least 15 calls or emails a week from victims fearing for their safety, and pleading for information about an inmate.
Hundreds of men and women are paroled from Utah state prisons every year. Some were in for non-violent crimes, but many are convicted rapists, other types of sex offenders, even people put behind bars for murder.
Sharon Duarelle and Doug Fawson work with their victims through the Department of Corrections. And while the offenders may have done their time, their victims are in for life.
Kim, Victim’s Mother: "I know that my daughter is very very concerned about him coming after her again. We know that just through talking with people that there is no remorse there."
Kim is so concerned for her family she will not show her face, but she will tell her daughter's story. She was sexually abused by her step-brother and up until now, it's been a constant battle to keep track of him.
Kim: "Where is he then? Is he living where we live? Is he living within 30 miles? Will we run into him at the grocery stores? How can we avoid this?"
The vine system will not provide detailed tracking information about parolees, but it will give victims some much needed direction.
Sharon Daurelle, Victims Services: "We can also educate victims, any victims on what conditions of parole are what the offenders need to abide by what violations are and what is likely to happen in an event of a violation."
Calls to the VINE system are anonymous. You can register and then the system will call you back when an offender is released or their status has changed. The system goes on-line Wednesday statewide, and eventually will be expanded into the court system.
For more information, log on to the V.I.N.E. web site or call 1-877-884-8463 after Wednesday.