Q.  What is VINE

The VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) system is a separate automated phone and/or email notification system that is available to crime victims of incarcerated Ohio offenders. If you are a victim, you should register individually for both VINE and the Office of Victim Services' notification systems.

Q.  What if I'm not at home or my phone is busy when VINE calls?

The VINE service is designed to allow every opportunity for you to be notified.  If there is no answer or the line is busy, VINE will continue to call for a minimum of 24 hours.  VINE will leave a message on an answering machine but will continue to call for 24 hours or until the PIN is entered.

Q.  Can I register more than one telephone number with VINE?

Yes, but each registration must be done separately and requires a PIN.  You may use the same PIN for several registrations.

Q.  Does VINE ensure my safety?

The VINE program is designed to provide you with quick and easy access to offender information and to assist in preparing for an offender's release.  Do not depend solely on VINE or any other program for your safety.

Q.  Who sponsors VINE?

VINE is provided by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's Office, the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association, the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and the Ohio Department of Youth Services and is funded by a Victims of Crime Act grant.

Q.  As a crime victim, will I be notified of upcoming parole hearings or release dates for the offenders?

 To receive notification of upcoming parole hearings, release dates, death of an offender, escape of an offender, or pending execution, please complete the Victim Notification Form.

Q.  Can I share my opinion regarding possible release of an offender with the Ohio Parole Board?

Anyone may send information to the Ohio Parole Board at any time regarding his/her feelings about a potential parole.  Due to the changes in Ohio law over the past few years, it is possible that the offender's sentence does not include eligibility for parole, but may include supervision upon his/her release. This is known as Post-Release Control.  As a crime victim, if you have concerns regarding the release of an offender, you may send written information to the Office of Victim Services. For parole eligible offenders, victims may contact the Office of Victim Services to schedule a meeting with an Ohio Parole Board representative.

Q.  I would like to meet with the offender who hurt my family or me.  Who should I call?

Contact the Office of Victim Services for information on the Victim Offender Dialogue program.

Q.  If I was the victim, do I have visitation rights to see the offender?

 No.  Visitation is a privilege for an inmate, not a right. Victims are generally denied visitation for a number of reasons, mainly to prevent re-victimization and to ensure safety and security.

Q.  I have been receiving threats or unwanted calls/correspondence from an offender?  What can I do?

You may call the Office of Victim Services or call the Victim Coordinator at the institution from which the contact is coming and ask for assistance.

Q.  Why didn't I receive any information from the Office of Victim Services after I was victimized?

 Due to the high number of victims throughout the State of Ohio, the Office of Victim Services is not able to contact victims directly after sentencing. It is the county prosecuting attorney's responsibility to refer the victim and/or family to the Office of Victim Services. It is then the victim and/or family's responsibility to register with the Office of Victim Services.

Q.  If I move, do I need to let the Office of Victims Services know?

Yes. In order to continue receiving notification and information from the Office of Victim Services, it is important to update your address, telephone, or any other changes to your contact information.

Q.  If the offender owes child support, can he make payments while incarcerated?

Yes. The court in which the child support order originated can send a certified copy of the order to the institution where the offender is located. Payments can be taken from the offender's account.

Q.  If the offender owes restitution, can he make payments while incarcerated?

Yes. The Clerk of Court from the county of conviction will send a certified journal entry to the institution upon sentencing. If the entry indicates restitution was ordered for a specific amount, the institution will validate that entry and upon validation begin the withdrawal of any available money from the offender's account. The money is sent to the Clerk of Courts for dispersal to the victim.