System Alerts Crime Victims to Ex-Cons

Crime victims fearful of the day their tormentors get out of jail can now get a "heads up" from a new automated system at the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

The system operates in English, Spanish and Vietnamese at (800) 721-8021. Callers can find out if an inmate is in custody and make use of the system by registering their phone numbers and choosing personal identification numbers.

When the inmate in question is released from Orange County Jail, the automated phone system calls the registered person every 30 minutes for 24 hours, until he or she answers the call and enters the personal ID number.

The Victim Information Notification Everyday system also operates in Northern California and other states. To pay for the system, the Sheriff's Department combined a $25,000 federal grant with money earmarked for victim assistance.

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