Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $500,000)
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 Mississippi Department of Corrections will use its Fiscal Year 2009 SAVIN Enhancement award to enhance the current services offered through the Office of Mississippi SAVIN. The current system provides crime victims with around the clock service for notification and information about offenders who are incarcerated statewide. English and Spanish speaking print materials and English and Spanish speaking operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Funds will be used to create a new type of victim notification system through the Vine Protective Order (VPO). This new system will work the same way as the VINE system currently works in Mississippi but will add protective order notifications for victims. A data collection network will be deployed that will collect protective order case information from the Department of Public Safety on a timely basis. The data will then be transmitted to a central location where the data will be processed and made available to victims and petitioners of protective orders. Victims will be able to register for notifications on either the website or over the phone and/or speak to a live operator on a 24 hours per day/365 days per year basis. The Mississippi SAVIN operators will also have a TDD capability for hearing impaired victims and will be able to access multiple languages for victim assistance. All services will automatically be made available in English and Spanish.
The grantee will provide a toll-free information line, an in-bound telephone line, and an administrative system to enable law enforcement to update the status of an order and/or confirm order status and order conditions. Video and web-accessible training for victims' advocacy groups and criminal justice agencies regarding protective order information and notification services will be provided to increase the knowledge and usage throughout the state. In addition to providing an invaluable service to crime victims, law enforcement capabilities will be greatly enhanced by having access to both a centralized web-accessible database and a toll-free secure telephone line, especially for use in remote and rural areas. Because the service information is entered immediately, officers around the state will be able to verify local and out of county orders, and confirm that the order is in effect. Information will be provided on the current Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) website in both English and Spanish and will also be provided statewide through notification pamphlets and posters in both English and Spanish. The VINELink website currently has information for facilities which are online in Mississippi and will provide additional information regarding VPO. 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. By providing VPO to the State of Mississippi, crime victims will have more critical and possibly life-saving information at their fingertips.