Inmate notification system down leaving victims vulnerable

Inmate notification system down leaving victims vulnerable - 10 p.m.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A system set up to help victims of crime keep track of their offenders is currently not working in East Baton Rouge Parish.

The Louisiana Automated Victim Notification System, LAVNS, was set up to help victims track their offenders. For example, a domestic violence victim can be notified when her attacker gets out of jail or is transferred.

"It just told me they don't have anything on file," said a local woman.

The woman, who was a victim of domestic violence and relies on the LAVNS program, said she was alarmed to hear that the system set up to let her know when her attacker is released has been down for more than a month and no one told her.

"You're constantly looking over your back," said the woman. "You're constantly going outside or peeping through your window especially where I'm staying because it's so easy for the individual to stalk. So it's really scaring."

She said that the system being down puts her safety in jeopardy.

"My heart started beating fast. I was kind of scared," she said. "I was like if this individual is out and I didn't know what to do because I'm really scared of this individual, so a lot was going through my head."

Officials with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's office said all of the equipment on their end is working, but the problem lies with the software company who operated the system.

The technology company Appriss is based in Louisville, Kentucky and provides software to various municipalities across the country.

An Appriss representative said their technicians have identified the problem and will have it corrected and the system back up and running in 7 to 10 days.

However, there are other ways victims can keep track of the offenders, according to Carolyn Stapleton with Baton Rouge Area Victims Empowered

"It is crime victims' rights and one of those rights is that if you register with this form and your offender is released from jail, the jail will let you know when the offender is released," Stapleton said, referring to the Louisiana Victim Notice and Registration form. "They should call their arresting agency and say 'Did I fill out this form?' and if the person says, 'No,' then you'll want to get it filled out."

Anyone who needs one of the forms can click HERE, and click here for more about Baton Rouge Area Victims Empowered.

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