The Thomas County Sheriff’s Office has implemented a program to help crime victims know when perpetrators are released from the Thomas County Jail or when the individuals are transferred to another site for incarceration.
Victims must register with jail personnel and provide a phone number to the sheriff’s office to be notified. Or, the investigator in the case can help inform a victim.
Senior Capt. Ron James, jail administrator, said the system will be particularly useful in domestic violence cases if suspects get bond, and in sex offender cases, especially when young children are involved.
If a victim has registered with the jail, when an offender’s name is pulled up, the victim’s information will appear.
“It will have the victim’s phone number,” James explained.
An offender might bond out of the local jail on a misdemeanor and be transported to another jail to face charges in that community.
Or an offender might have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to a jail term and be released after serving the sentence.
“What’s important is to make sure the victim is notified,” James said.
When released, sex offenders are monitored by a sheriff’s office investigator. Some offenders wear ankle monitors when released on bond or after serving a sentence.
Victims who want to be notified by the jail when an offender is released or transferred should call 225-3312 and leave a phone number. If a victim does not have a phone, the sheriff’s office will notify the individual in person.
Gwen Williams, victim advocate in the local district attorney’s office, routinely notifies victims when offenders are released, said Ray Auman, senior assistant district attorney.
Williams also notifies victims about court proceedings involving their cases.
“I’m all for the new victim contact program at the sheriff’s office,” Auman said.
Local notification efforts will keep victims notified at every stage of a case, he said.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.