Computer Glitch Sends 8,000 Alerts To Crime Victims Telling Them Their Attackers Are Free From Jail

A computer glitch is being blamed as the cause of approximately 8,000 alerts going out to victims of crimes — along with their families — at approximately 5:30 p.m. local Oregon time on Friday evening, telling them that the perpetrators of those actions would be set free from prison. The erroneous alerts included information that prisoners like Ward Weaver would be suddenly set free — shocking news about a man who was convicted of the kidnapping and murder and burial of two school-aged girls in Oregon City in 2002.

According to the Guardian, receiving an alert that Weaver would be released from prison on March 20 rattled Brea Day, cousin of one of Ward’s victims.

“Instantly horrified. It’s very upsetting.”

Routine maintenance on the Oregon Victim Information and Notification Everyday service is being blamed for the false email alerts being sent out to crime victims, with the VINELink glitch’s ominous warnings about victims with concerns about their safety being able to contact 911 sending unexpected shivers to those who anticipated the convicts to remain in prison for much longer — especially in the case of the life sentence that Weaver is currently serving.

The Department of Corrections spokeswoman Betty Bernt has informed the public that two additional alerts were sent out in the wake of the wrong reports, letting victims and their families know that the initial 8,000 notices of prisoners being released were in error, reports NBC News.

The huge technical glitch, said NBC Portland affiliate KGW, occurred because the tech experts were updating the prison system’s 15,000 files within their massive database containing prisoners’ information, and Bernt communicated that VINE will remain offline until the issue that caused the incorrect email alerts to be sent out is fixed. The VINE system isn’t only used in Oregon, but in 47 states across the nation. The glitch only affected Oregon, however, and those participants who chose to use the service in order to be automatically notified regarding any updates in their offenders incarceration status by text alerts, email messages or by phone calls.

As upsetting as the computer glitch turned out to be for some victims and their family members, it was reportedly the first time VINE has had such a bug happen in the state. In the wake of the incident, officials are also ensuring that the public knows they can check the “Oregon Offender Search” online to learn of an inmate’s current status.

As reported by the Inquisitr, it’s comforting to crime victims to know that offenders will continue to be punished for the crimes they’ve committed, such as when Dave Navarro learned that his mother’s killer would remain in prison.

[Image via The Guardian]