A $400,000 grant will help crime victims in Vermont keep better tabs on their attackers.
mail, phone or traditional mail about pertinent developments.
manner, if at all.
"It's definitely a system that's broken," said Judy Rex, executive director of the Vermont Center for Crime Victims Services. "This is a great opportunity to try to get things into the 21st century."
"Maybe I hear my offender is being released and I install a new security system," she explained. "Maybe I let my family and friends know they're getting out and we need to be more vigilant. It all depends on the individual and how dangerous the offender is to the victim."
Victims of domestic or sexual assault are statutorily entitled to know when their perpetrators are released from prison. However, advocates say the state's outmoded notification system sometimes prevents them from getting the information in a timely Air Max 90 Independence Day On Feet
The new system also would incorporate information about court hearings for defendants in Air Max 90 Hyperfuse Volt
Rex, whose organization has used money from the state's victims' compensation fund to install home security systems, said the grant will fix a problem that can exacerbate the psychological trauma of a vulnerable population.
Under the current paper based system, inmates' caseworkers, scattered in field offices across the state, are responsible for informing victims about impending release dates or parole hearings. The new system would use computer software to track inmate status and automatically notify victims via e Nike Air Max 90 Top Quality
Holloway, who wrote the grant application, said she will work in coming months with officials and experts across the state to craft a confidential system that works best for victims in Vermont.
violent crime cases who have yet to enter the corrections system. Hearings, whether held in court or in front of a parole board, offer victims an opportunity to offer testimony that could impact the fate of the offender, Holloway said.
"There's certain time sensitive information that needs to get out to victims," said Amy Holloway, director of Victims Services for the Department of Corrections. "It would be automatic with the new system With the system we have now, we don't have the capacity to do that on a consistent basis."
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"Victims are often terrified of the offender getting out, particularly if they never admitted to the crime or refused treatment," she said. "Vermont has been very slow to get its technology up to speed, especially in the criminal justice system."
For victims of domestic or sexual violence, peace of mind can hinge on the status of people who violated them, according to advocates. Sarah Kinney, public policy coordinator for the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said different people use the information in different ways.
"Under Vermont statute, a victim is supposed to be informed 30 days before a parole hearing," Holloway said. "That gives them the opportunity to prepare a statement and say how they were impacted by a crime."
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