Automated Victim Notification System Spreads In Pennsylvania


He could be the jealous boyfriend who beat you, the creep who molested your kid, or the drug dealer you finally had the guts to dime out. You’re worried that they’ll get out on bail. But how would you even know?, asks the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 51 Pennsylvania counties, a new technology enables any citizen with a phone or e-mail to be notified the instant a prisoner is released or transferred from a county prison. Bucks County yesterday became the latest system to join the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification system, or SAVIN. Anyone with an interest in an offender can register anonymously by phone or online. Once registered, a person will be notified immediately whenever a specified prisoner is released, is transferred, or escapes from a county prison.

The notification system grew out of the 1994 murder of a Kentucky woman after her violent ex-boyfriend was released from prison without her knowledge. More recently in Bucks, a man convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy was granted academic release from the county prison in 2006 to attend classes at the University of Pennsylvania. The victim’s mother never was told of the release by prison officials, despite having made a written request that she be called. She discovered it during an Internet search, and notified Penn.


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