Bill released providing notification to witnesses of criminals who are released

TRENTON – The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee released bill S2513, which expands the scope of notification when an offender is released from custody or transferred within the criminal justice system.

When Megan’s Law was created, the Parole Board, Department of Corrections, or Juvenile Justice Commission were required to provide written notice to the prosecutor of the anticipated release from incarceration of offenders convicted of certain violent crimes and sex offenses.

This bill expands that notification to include witnesses and any other appropriate person, as determined by the prosecutor.

Currently, the Attorney General operates the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) system, which authorizes the notification of crime victims who have elected to participate in the system whenever an offender is released from custody or transferred within the correctional system.

The bill in part was spurred by the case of a Woodbury woman who was strangled after she was a witness in a murder trial.

Sen. Donald Norcross (D-5) of Camden described the bill as a “simple, commons sense solution. It should go a long way,” he said.

Sen. Loretta Weinberg said, “When people have the courage when they witness a violent crime, this just gives a little added protection.”

The bill states that the Attorney General would continue to maintain the VINE system. The bill further authorizes the Attorney General to adopt rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of the bill.

Bill released providing notification to witnesses of criminals who are released