In Oklahoma, there are three criminal registries that provide evidence of past offenses and that may impact a person's post-conviction rights and privileges:
- The Oklahoma Methamphetamine Offender Registry is searchable by pharmacists and law enforcement to prevent the sale and possession of precursors for manufacturing methamphetamine.
- The Oklahoma Sex Offender Registry is publicly available to provide information about convicted sex offenders and their whereabouts.
- The Oklahoma Violent Crime Offender Registry, like the sex offender registry, provides information about individuals who have been convicted of violent crimes.
There is another way people can become informed about the status of an inmate in the Department of Corrections, and this is through the Oklahoma VINE.
VINE stands for Victim Information and Notification Everyday, and it is intended to provide criminal tracking and notification for crime victims. However, although OK VINE is intended to update victims about notification in a particular offender's status, the network is publicly available to other "interested parties."
VINE automatically provides information about changes in an offender's custody status. These changes include transfer, escape, apprehension, release, or death. VINE does not, however, automatically notify a victim or interested party if an offender is granted parole. In order to find out the parole status of the offender, the victim or interested party must contact the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.
The Oklahoma County District Attorney's Office provides the following facts about OK Vine:
- OK VINE is anonymous. The offender will not know who is registered with OK VINE to be notified of changes in his or her custody status.
- OK VINE is an automatic system that places calls to registered participants around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to notify victims of changes in offender status.
- OK VINE can only notify a registered person directly, and the person must re-register if he or she gets a new phone number.
- When an offender in county custody is transferred to the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, he or she receives a new identification number. This may require that a victim or interested party re-register with OK VINE.
Why is victim notification important? In many cases, particularly for victims of sexual assault and violent crimes, knowing that the offender remains behind bars can give peace of mind. Providing information of an offender's release or escape can also allow the victim to put into place any safety measures he or she feels necessary for personal protection.
Image Credit: VINELink