The Crime Victim Notification (CVN) Program was created to address the 77th Texas Legislature HB 1572 to implement a Statewide Automated Victim Notification System.
Recognizing the importance of a victims' right to notification in the State of Texas, the 77th Texas legislative session passed HB 1572, which appropriated funds to the Office of the Attorney General to implement a Statewide Automated Victim Notification System.
The purpose of the Crime Victim Notification Program is to address HB 1572 by providing a Statewide Automated Victim Notification Service (SAVNS) to the victims of crime and local units of government (counties) in the State of Texas. This includes the implementation of a single entry point (one toll-free statewide number) for victims to receive standard information and notification on offender status and court events in order to better meet victims' needs and enhance their safety.
The CVN Program is staffed by a director, a project manager, an administrative assistant.
The right to be notified of significant events in the criminal justice system is one of the most basic rights afforded crime victims in the Texas State Constitution, Art.1, Section 30. The OAG Crime Victims' Institute (CVI) research findings regarding notification, however, reveal that less than 42% of the violent crime victims surveyed reported having received case notification. Almost 78% of those who were notified said that notification was moderately to very useful.
Notification of the custody status of an offender and court proceedings (events) is an important service to victims. The victim's sense of safety from the offender and willingness to participate in the criminal justice system are enhanced when communication is automated and ensured
Automated victim notification systems have direct benefits for the criminal justice system by providing an efficient manner for notification of victims in a system that is often overburdened and unable to fulfill its mandates. These systems allow victims, law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates and other criminal justice professionals to have immediate access to offender information.
While there are several victim notification systems in place in Texas, there is currently no statewide-standardized system supporting all 254 counties, their local jails and their courts. Multiple systems with multiple telephone numbers currently make the process difficult and confusing for victims, especially those who may reside outside the county in which the crime occurred.
The State of Texas will join fourteen (14) other statewide systems, over 1400 communities within thirty-seven (37) states, and the U.S. Department of Justice (Federal Prisons, U.S. Attorney's Offices and the Federal Bureau of Investigation) by participating in an Automated Victim Notification service.
From January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2001, the OAG Crime Victims Institute (CVI) conducted a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a statewide automated system to provide crime victims accurate information and timely notifications of county jail inmate status and court events.
Five counties were chosen for the pilot study including Childress, Collingsworth, Dallas, El Paso, and Harris. Support and cooperation from county officials, criminal justice professionals, and victim advocates were essential to the planning, development and implementation of the pilot study.
For more information concerning the pilot study, please refer to the Texas VINE Pilot Study - Statewide Automated Crime Victim Information and Notification System (Office of the Attorney General) located online at the following locations:
The OAG is currently conducting a competitive bid process via a Request for Proposal (RFP) to find a vendor to provide the notification service. The proposals, which are due on August 15th, 2002, will be evaluated using a consistent evaluation process, based on the certification requirements documented in the RFP, in order to select the most qualified vendor.
The RFP is available online through August 15, 2002, via the Texas Marketplace.
The OAG will certify the selected vendor to provide the Statewide Automated Victim Notification Service (SAVNS) to all counties in the State of Texas. The certification will result in the authorization of the certified vendor to contract with Texas counties directly to provide the SAVNS to these counties. The certified vendor will be directly responsible for all aspects of the service. The OAG will reimburse the participating counties for approved expenses via grant contracts. The OAG will maintain an oversight and monitoring role to the participating counties, the certified vendor, and the service in general.
The OAG Crime Victims Notification Program will work with each participating county to prepare for the implementation of the SAVNS. The CVN Program will oversee the statewide implementation and the ongoing maintenance of the SAVNS.
Each participating county will work with the Certified Vendor to determine the preferred configuration and implementation options based on the particular county's needs. These options may include interfaces, modifications, and/or data conversion. The qualified vendor will install and test all necessary hardware and software, as well as provide all necessary training and promotional activities to each participating county in Texas.
Crime Victim Notification Program-004
P.O. Box 12548
300 W. 15th Street
William Clements Building
Austin, Texas 78711-2548
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org