Thursday, November 13, 2008

New System Notifies Crime Victims

Allegheny County has a new system for notifying crime victims when perpetrators have been released from jail. SAVIN, or Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification, will call or e-mail victims who have registered with the system. Victims can also contact the system at any time, 24 hours a day, to check on the status of a particular inmate. B.J. Horn with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency says having that extra reassurance can be the difference between sleeping through the night and pacing the floor.

Horn says SAVIN also notifies victims sooner than previous systems did. SAVIN contacts victims within 15 minutes of an inmate's release. SAVIN also allows people other than victims to register with the system. Horn says that sets up a bigger safety net to make sure victims are notified and have time to prepare if they're concerned about their safety.

People notified by SAVIN are also given contact information for the Center for Victims of Violent Crime, which can provide extra assistance.

For now, SAVIN applies only to inmates incarcerated at the Allegheny County Jail. The state hopes to have SAVIN set up statewide for all state and county facilities next year.

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