Crime & Courts

New system allows Kansans to track county inmates

The Victim Information and Notification Everyday service, which is free and anonymous, allows people to receive updates about changes in the custody status of a person housed in a county jail over the phone or via text message, e-mail or TTY device.
The Victim Information and Notification Everyday service, which is free and anonymous, allows people to receive updates about changes in the custody status of a person housed in a county jail over the phone or via text message, e-mail or TTY device. File photo

Keeping up on the location or release of Kansas jail inmates is getting easier for victims, thanks to an automated notification system that’s being launched statewide.

The system — called Victim Information and Notification Everyday, or VINE — is already in 19 counties and is expected to be implemented in the other 86 over the next two years, according to the Kansas Attorney General’s Office.

The free and anonymous service allows people to receive updates about changes in the custody status of a person housed in a county jail over the phone or via text message, e-mail or TTY device.

Updates will include the inmate’s name, offender number, current custody status, location and scheduled release date, if available. It’s available every day around the clock and in several languages. Users can search the system with an inmate’s name or offender identification number.

The system also allows users to access information about jail inmates housed in other participating states.

For more information or to register to track an inmate, go to www.ag.ks.gov/vine.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, in a news release announcing VINE’s launch, called the system “an additional source of information victims of crime can incorporate into their safety strategies.”

Sheriff’s offices already set up in the Kansas VINE system are in Anderson, Bourbon, Cherokee, Clay, Cloud, Ellis, Finney, Hamilton, Jackson, Kearny, Kingman, Labette, Lane, Linn, Montgomery, Osage, Russell, Woodson and Wyandotte counties.

“As Kansas VINE becomes live in our counties, we can’t help but feel this will greatly enhance the victims’ knowledge,” Sandy Horton, executive director of the Kansas Sheriffs Association, said in the news release.

The system is different from the Kansas Department of Corrections’ searchable prisoner information database, known as KASPER.

Before VINE’s inception, victims had no centralized source of information about offenders held in county jails.

The system is being provided by the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, the Kansas Department of Labor and the Kansas Sheriff’s Association. The county-by-county launch started in March.

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker

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