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New App Allows Victims to Follow Offenders Through Corrections System

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The Department of Corrections is making a user friendly expansion to its victim notification program. ABC Montana's Joe Moeller has more.

"The vine program has been in existence in Montana for a while now it is a victim identification notification system." said the Director of Department of Corrections Mike Batista.

Based out of Louisville, Kentucky, VINE, is a program which allows for victims or family members to register to receive phone, email, text, or telephone notifications about changes in the custody status or location of any adult felony offender. The system follows 13,000 offenders in Montana's correctional system and is completely anonymous.

"For example if there is an offender that has walked away from a pre-release and you have been the victim by that offender, you receive that information right away." said Batista.

The program was made possible by a federal grant, and just last year vine delivered nearly 30,000 messages. The Montana Department of Corrections is introducing an expansion to the program.

Now it is a little easier to receive these updates users of VINE can now download a free mobile app straight to there smart device, to get any status of any offender right at their finger tips.

"The mobile application is available and we expect it will be more extensively used by victims and people that work in public safety." added Batista.

All of the information comes from the Department of Corrections and updates can notify victims about upcoming  hearings, releases, transfers from prison to community supervision, escapes, and even offender deaths.

"Just like any other application that you would have on an ipad or on a smart phone. You will be able to search the system at anytime. All you have to do is register for VINE, all you have to do is go online and register and download the mobile application." said Batista.

The free app can be used on android and apple smart phones, and you can visit www.VINElink.com to find out more information.

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