SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is always trying to find ways to help victims of violent crimes.
One of those ways is with the launch of their new Automated Email Notification Service beginning Thursday.
“It’s important for victims to be prepared upon release of their offender who are transitioning back into our communities,” said Katie James, with CDCR says.
She hopes their new email notification program will help them better prepare.
They new automated system sends real-time alerts to a computer, smart-phone or other digital device to those who have signed up. It gives them a 90-day advance notice of the release of an offender from CDCR’s custody.
Doing so allows victims to, “better secure their surroundings and let friends and family know, even let their employer know,” said James.
The CDCR currently delivers more than 20,000 notifications each year to victims. It also has approximately 117,000 offenders in its 35 institutions and another 14,000 offenders in its out-of-state correctional facilities, community correctional facilities located in California and conservation camps that house inmate firefighters.
Streamlining the process gives the department a lot of leverage.
“More change control, more possibility to update the system when we need to, more real-time updates and no lag time,” explained James.
“It’s huge,” said Christine Ward, the Executive Director of the Sacramento-based victims assistance program ICAN. She says this new change can be life-changing for victims because in a digital world, for victims to be able to get real-time information can make a huge difference in how they plan and live their lives.
“The sooner that victim has the news about the release of their perpetrator, the more time they have to prepare,” she said. “So, if you’re at work and you get a notice on your smartphone, and you look down and see that the CDCR has sent notice that your perpetrator is being released, you can start to (plan) immediately.”
In addition to helping victims, the new system also saves the Department of Corrections $20,000 a month, which they say they can use on other programs and services.