What is VINELink and How Does It Work for Felons?

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If you are a victim of a crime or concerned about criminal activity in your area, having access to a database that keeps you informed about the cases that interest you is incredibly helpful. This is the main goal of VINELink.

VINELink provides information about criminal cases and offenders to interested parties for free.

This service is available in almost all states and can help you to stay on top of information concerning a criminal situation.

VINELink is the name of the online portal, mobile app, and toll-free phone number by which you access the VINE network.

The VINE network from Appriss is the notification system for concerned citizens and victims of crime that links with jails, prisons, and courts across the country to gather information about offenders and criminal cases. 

Through VINELink, you can receive notifications and check information any time you want. It is available 24 hours a day for seven days a week. It is available in 48 states and provides information on 2,900 facilities. 

By using VINE you can find information about an offender’s status or the status of a criminal case. It is a nice way to stay informed when you have a personal connection to the offender or case, such as being a victim.

The best thing about the service is that it is free to use and available to the public. Anyone can sign up and get victim information and notification every day without ever paying any type of fee.  

The service has a variety of features with which you will want to familiarize yourself to make the most of your experience.

The two main features are the inmate search and the case search.

Inmate search allows you to search the VINE database for a specific offender. You will be able to search using the offender’s name, ID number, or case number.

The system will return results that include information about custody status, changes in status, and sentencing information.  

You can set different options for an offender as well. You can set a watch that will allow you to bookmark the offender in your account for instant access in the future.

The system also allows you to set a notification so you receive a message if the offender has a change in status.

The case search is very similar to the offender search. You will need the case number. However, this service is not available in all states.

Service Provider Directory

Additional victim services from VINE include a news feed that provides information about your state’s program and a service provider directory.

The directory can link you to providers who can help you with basic needs, healthcare, legal assistance, and counseling.

You can add favorite service providers to your contacts to easily find them in the future.

Do note that to use many of the services you will need to register an account. The system will keep your information private and does not require an extensive signup process.

Using the VINE System

Western Virginia Regional Jail explains you can access the VINE services and system in a variety of ways.

Online Portal

The most common is through the online portal at vinelink.com. You simply choose your state and link with your state’s portal page where you can conduct your search or gather whatever information you need.

The portal works with Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge.

Toll-free Number

Another option is the toll-free number. You can use this the same way you would use the website to conduct searches and get information.

You also can access the system to get notifications and set up notifications through this phone number. Access is also available through a TTY device.

The VINELink mobile app is the newest offering. You can download it on your iPhone or Android mobile device.

It has all the same features as the online portal. You can set up push notifications with this option as well.

You also have additional options for receiving automated notification. You can sign up to receive them via text message or email.

Both options allow you to get alerts when an offender has a change in custody status.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are new to the VINE victim notification network, you may find you have a lot of lingering questions.

It can be daunting to use the system at first if you are unaware of how it works or how the system keeps you safe.

It can help to read through the following FAQ list to learn more about what to expect.

Can VINE Keep Me Safe?

The VINE service is not a form of personal security. It offers you information that you can use to stay safe, but you should never rely on it solely.

If you feel at risk, speak to a legal professional about what you can do, and contact local law enforcement about your concerns.

You should also have a personal safety plan in place to react to an offender’s release.

Do note that every VINE website provides a quick exit option.

This is there for your protection should you need to exit the site fast so that someone does not see what you are doing.

The system also provides you with access to service providers who may be able to offer you further help if you fear for your safety and security.

Is VINE Always Up-to-Date?

While VINE strives to have the most current and reliable information and offer an offender’s custody status change notifications quickly, the service relies on the reporting of partner facilities and agencies.

It is only as current as the information it receives. Some jurisdictions are not as timely in their reporting as others. 

If you have concerns about the accuracy of the information, you can contact your county jail or the facility where the offender is held for current status reports.

What Happens if I Cannot Find the Offender or Case I Want?

If your search does not produce the results you want, you should double-check that you have entered the correct information.

Remember you can search by name only if you need to. The system will only have information on offenders currently in custody.

If a facility released the offender, he or she will not show up in a search. You may need to contact your local law enforcement agency for a status update.

It is also possible the offender moved to a different facility and the database has not updated yet.

In some cases, the facility may be offline. Usually, the system will alert you when facilities are down and not reporting information.

Another possible issue is the offender or case is at the federal level.

VINE only reports on local, county, and state cases and offenders. You will need to use a federal Department of Corrections system to access the information.

Finally, VINE is available in 48 states, but not every jurisdiction within each state reports its criminal case information or custody status information to the system.

It is possible you are trying to access information from one of the states or areas in which the system is not active.

Why Do I Need a PIN?

If you wish to receive notification from the VINE system, you will need to set up a PIN, which is a 4-digit number.

This is an accessibility security measure within the system to ensure the correct person is receiving the notices. Your PIN will allow you to set notifications and disable them.

You will need only one PIN to use any part of the system, including app notifications.

Within your account profile, you can change your PIN at any time. If you forget it, you will need to call VINE’s telephone number and speak to an operator for assistance.

Why Should I Use VINE?

Most people who use VINE are victims of crime, such as sexual assault survivors, who wish to stay on top of the incarceration status of the person who harmed them.

It provides them with peace of mind that they can know where the offender is and receive notice if he or she leaves custody.

The criminal justice system is often slow in reporting things to victims, even if there is a court order to do so. By using VINE, you can take things into your own hands, and reclaim control of your life.

Some people also use the system as concerned citizens. They may wish to watch offenders who will move into their area after release so they are aware of it when the time comes.

Remember, when you use the system, you control notifications and can access them whenever you wish.

VINE and the VINELink system as www.vinelink.com can help give you a sense of security. Through the various options for using the system, it is simple for anyone to benefit from.

You can stay anonymous or register through the safe and secure process to receive notifications that can tell you when an offender leaves custody or if there is some change in a criminal case. It can help you to stay on top of things and feel safer.

Whether you are a victim of a crime or just someone concerned about your community, VINE provides a valuable service that keeps the public informed.

About the author

After earning his MBA from Benedictine University, Ron was looking for a new challenge and stumbled on the idea of helping the formerly incarcerated.

Using what he learned, Ron developed this website as a free resource and has worked with his team​ to continue answering questions for those in need.

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