Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $368,564)
The Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) program (authorized by Pub.L. 111-8, and guided in part by the general principles of 42 U.S.C. §10603e) ensures victims of crime receive accurate and timely information regarding the status of offenders and events related to their cases. Through SAVIN, victims are able to participate in the judicial process and make sound decisions to protect themselves from further victimization while maintaining total anonymity. This information-sharing capability is also available to courts, corrections, and law enforcement officials.
The Minnesota Office of Justice Programs (OJP) will use its FY 2009 SAVIN award to enhance the current automated notification system. This system does not currently meet the needs or requirements for notification through the Department of Corrections (DOC), has limited language access online and through printed materials, and provides no capability for evaluating notification across the state. Funds will be used to create a one-stop, centralized single access point to enroll victims for notification and provide them with appropriate information on the offender based on the crime and to ensure access to restorative justice components, such as the apology letter bank. The system will provide victims with options and opportunities specific to the types of notifications they want to receive and the mechanism of how they wish to receive notification. In addition, it will ensure confidentiality of, and secured access to, victim information. The current DOC website is called CHOICE, and this enhancement will provide offender-specific information and service options to registered victims/users through a secure username and password authenticated website. A centralized survey tool will also be developed to enable the DOC and OJP to ensure proper notification and customer satisfaction across the state. The survey tool will be a comprehensive feedback, validation, and statistic gathering solution that can be seamlessly integrated into the agency's existing applications or used as a stand-alone system. In addition, accessibility will be improved through the enhancement of language options in the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) website called VINELink. A Spanish language option will be added to allow Spanish-speaking victims the ability to navigate the VINELink service free of language barriers, thereby increasing its usage and promoting multicultural inclusion among those seeking critical victim services. OJP will also implement Hmong and Somali language options to the existing VINE program.