Frequently Asked Questions
Texas VINE (Victim Information & Notification Everyday)
Provided by the Attorney General's Office of Texas
1-877-TX4-VINE or 1-877-894-8463
What is VINE?
VINE stands for Victim Information and Notification Everyday. The purpose of the VINE program is to assist victims of crime and other concerned persons by providing continual access to inmate custody and case information via the telephone. This 24-hour hot line allows victims of crime to verify the custody status of an inmate. The service automatically notifies registered victims if the inmate has a change in custody or case status. The hot line is available in both English and Spanish languages.
When was VINE developed?
The first VINE program was created in 1993 after the tragic death of Mary Byron in Louisville, KY. Mary was murdered by an ex-boyfriend when he was released from jail without her knowledge. A notification call from police was promised but not delivered. This set the stage for the development of the nation’s first totally automated service for keeping crime victims informed of the custody status of an inmate. After a year of development, VINE was unveiled in Jefferson County (Louisville) KY, on December 3rd, 1994.
How Does VINE Work?
VINE is a fully automated computer service that electronically links a National Call Center to inmate custody information at the local jail. When new inmate custody information is sent to the VINE Call Center, VINE compares the inmate information to a list of victims who have previously registered with the service. When it finds a match it immediately places calls to the appropriate registered victim(s). VINE also monitors court information by connecting to on-site case management systems.
Are All Inmates Monitored by the VINE Program?
- VINE only monitors inmates who are in the custody of participating agencies. If you need more information on VINE in your area, call 1-800-816-0491.
- There may be delays from the time of arrest before an inmate is officially recorded in the institution. If VINE cannot confirm that the inmate is in custody, callers should assume that the inmate has been released.
- An inmate may be released on bail or released on his/her recognizance during arraignment. These individuals may not be considered in custody.
- VINE may not monitor inmates being held at a police precinct or other police facilities. For further information contact 1-800-816-0491.
Who Can Use the VINE Service?
- Anyone who has been a victim of crime.
- Family members and friends of crime victims.
- Victim advocates and victim service providers.
- Anyone who may be concerned about the custody status of an inmate.
- Law enforcement and criminal justice staff.
How Do Victims Register?
- Victims register by calling the VINE hot line directly to receive notifications on custody and court event changes.
How Will the Citizens of Your Community Learn about the VINE Service?
VINE will provide a training workshop for law enforcement agencies and victim service providers agencies. Once all specified training is completed, a general introduction to the public and the media will take place. Victim service providers, first responders and law enforcement officers will have brochures, cards, and/or posters detailing the VINE service and explaining the registration process.
What Should I Tell Victims About Vine?
Victims should know that VINE is a service that is available to assist them in determining the custody status of an inmate. All VINE telephone registrations are anonymous and confidential. A VINE brochure will be available to victims with information on how to use the VINE service.
What if the inmate is released outside of regular business hours, for example midnight on a Sunday?
The VINE service is active 24 hours a day, 365 days a year including holidays. Any change in inmate custody will prompt the VINE service to call all registered victims regardless of the day or time. If an inmate is released during non-business hours, you will get a call from VINE.
What if the inmate is transferred out of the custody of a participating institution, but is still incarcerated?
The Vine service will notify all registered persons if an inmate is transferred out of the custody of a participating institution. If you need more information on the participation agencies in your area, call 1-800-816-0491.
How Do I Use VINE?
- When you first access VINE, you will identify the suspect/offender by entering the person’s name as a number. To do this, match each letter of the name to a number using the telephone keypad. Use 1 for “Q” and “Z.” For example, “John” is 5646.
- You can get the court case number from your local District Attorney’s Office.
- Select a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that is easy to remember.
- The Booking Number is a unique identifying number assigned by law enforcement when a person is booked into the county jail. You will be given the offender’s booking number the first time you access the system. If you forget the booking number, you can still access VINE information by entering the person’s name in number format.
- Select a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that is easy to remember.
LOCATING INFORMATION on jail status and court dates
- Call toll-free 1-877-TX4-VINE; (1-877-894-8463) from a touch-tone phone. If calling from a rotary phone, please stay on the line to speak to an operator.
- Follow the voice instructions using the information you wrote on the card on the far right panel of this brochure.
- After Texas VINE locates the suspect/offender, you will be given the person’s booking number. Write this number down. It will save time when you call again.
IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE PRESS "0" FOR AN OPERATOR WHEN THE SYSTEM PROMPTS YOU TO CHOOSE AN OPTION.
REGISTERING FOR NOTIFICATION
Texas VINE allows you to register for automatic notification of court events and changes in county jail status. You will need to register separately for each type of notification. When you register, you will be asked to provide two things:
- Phone number where you wish to be notified. Register as many numbers as you like, including your home and work phone. Do not register a phone that rings to a receptionist or a switch board.
- Four-digit PIN (Personal Identification Number). Use the PIN you already have chosen. You may use the same PIN with each phone number you register.
RECEIVING a notification call
Texas VINE will automatically notify registered persons of suspect/offender status and court event changes. To confirm that you have received the notification, enter your four- digit PIN. Texas VINE will keep calling for 24 hours until this PIN is entered.
Texas VINE automatically notifies registered users in English or Spanish whenever one of the following situations occurs:
- The suspect/offender is released or transferred.
- A court event has been set or changed.
- There is a change in custody status such as death or escape.
Your initial PIN is the last 4 digits of your phone number. You may change to another number when you access the system. If you choose to register for court event notification, Texas VINE will notify you of all court settings. You do not need to attend unless personally contacted by the District Attorney’s Office.
To confirm you are registered with Texas VINE, call 1-877-TX4- VINE; 1-877-894-8463 and begin the registration process. After you locate the suspect/offender and enter your telephone number, Texas VINE will tell you if you are already registered.
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