Online System to Allow Crime Victims Track Perpetrators' Release
Foreman, Chris, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Rick Laughery's boys have suffered more than their share of bad luck on Fayette County roads because of dangerous drivers.
After two frightening crashes -- and experiences with the criminal justice system -- within 20 months, Laughery said he's heartened by an online notification program spreading throughout the state to alert crime victims and community members about a county prison inmate's release, transfer to a state lockup or escape.
The North Union father is eager to know when two drunken drivers might be back on the streets.
One is the intoxicated woman who in April 2007 smashed into a car in which his 17-year-old son, Derek, was a passenger. The other is the unlicensed man caught driving while drunk just 11 months after a hit-and-run crash that threw Laughery's then-8-year-old son off his motorbike and caused fractures to his left leg and a broken wrist.
The male driver was sentenced to 3 to 23 months in Fayette County Prison for the crash that left Nicholas Laughery with a metal rod in his leg.
"It sure didn't seem like to me that it was fair, considering what he did to my boy," Rick Laughery said.
While several county prisons in the region have manual systems for notifying crime victims about a defendant's status, citizens soon will have a fail-safe way of receiving updates.
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Institute are using a $1.25 million federal grant to implement the Pennsylvania Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification, PA SAVIN, service through computers at county prisons.
Pennsylvania is one of 13 states working to utilize the network.
The free, automated, real-time service allows crime victims, their families and community members to register for information about a county inmate's prison status by calling 1-866-9PA-SAVIN or visiting www.vinelink.com.
The recipient of a notification call or e-mail must punch in a four-digit number to verify an account and receive the information.
Twenty-eight of the state's 67 counties were linked into the system by the start of June, while Snyder County was scheduled to go online last Friday.
In this region, only Washington and Somerset counties already offer the service, although many officials in the Greater Pittsburgh area reported …
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Publication information: Article title: Online System to Allow Crime Victims Track Perpetrators' Release. Contributors: Foreman, Chris - Author. Newspaper title: Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Publication date: June 8, 2008. Page number: Not available. © 2009 Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.