By: Andrew Keel
The problem with being the victim, particularly of a violent crime, is that you find yourself constantly wondering what the perpetrator of the crime is doing. Being able to watch them go to trial and eventually get sentenced for their crimes is the first step towards healing, but most people find that they still have a very difficult time relaxing. An inmate search is one way to help you make sure that the person who wronged you is still locked away and V.I.N.E., the commonly used acronym for Victim Information Notification Everyday, is an optional but official service that informs victims about the criminal(s) involved in their cases.
In an effort to help you heal and get on with your life, there are several states that have agreed to set up and maintain a searchable database of inmates. The purpose is so that you know what prison/county jail that the perpetrator is in as well as the amount of time that they will have to serve before they can even be considered for parole. The criminal justice system understands what you are going through and also established V.I.N.E. networks to give victims some piece of mind knowing that they will be notified in advance of a specified inmates release and can even provide notice of inmate movements or transfers while still locked away. It varies from state to state, but notifications can come by phone, text message, email or postal mail.
When you need to use an inmate search, you will have to start by choosing the state that the prisoner is incarcerated in and then your choices can be limited by local laws and level of technology. If you are able do the search online and don’t see the name of the person you are looking for, you’ll need to take a deep breath and tell yourself to relax; It takes a little while for the prisons and county jails to update electronically and it’s not at all unusual for the data to take a few weeks to update. You can get much more current information over the phone but if you’re monitoring someone over time and are able to do it online, keep checking because eventually the information you want should appear.
Another thing you’re going to want to take note of when you are running an inmate search is where the inmate is being held. Individuals who have been accused of a crime are usually arrested and if they can’t afford bail, they’re held in the county jail until their court date. If the search reveals that the prisoner is being held in a county jail, it could indicate that they haven’t actually been convicted since they haven’t been committed to a larger, state operated facility.