Signing up for SAVIN

Investigates

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — KELOLAND Investigates has brought you a series of five reports that detail how Marsy’s law isn’t being followed in the state and issues with the victim notification system, known as SAVIN. We also discovered that many victims of older crimes have never heard of SAVIN. While it’s far from a perfect system, here’s a little history on the system itself and how to sign up if you want to keep track of an offender.

Levi Flute was sentenced to 120 years in prison for rape, assault, kidnapping and robbery.

In 1990, his victim, Dawn Aspaas told the Department of Corrections that she wanted to be notified when he came up for parole, but she has never received any kind of notification on Flute’s hearings.

Kennecke: I check with the AG’s office and I said, ‘Why weren’t you informed?’ And I was told it was because you hadn’t signed up for SAVIN.
Aspass: I didn’t know about SAVIN. I’ve never heard of it.

KELOLAND Investigates has heard from other victims who never heard of the Statewide Automated Victim Information & Notification system either. It was launched by the attorney general’s office in 2016.

“We’re taking a giant step in South Dakota to do a better job with the victim notification system to provide information to victims, to make them at greater ease with our criminal justice system and to help them make decisions that may protect them,” said then-Attorney General Marty Jackley in 2016.

But you don’t have to be a victim to sign up for SAVIN. Anyone can do it by logging onto the SAVIN website and creating an account and then registering to follow a particular offender.

But as KELOLAND Investigates uncovered in the case of Joaquin Ramos’ parole hearing, SAVIN isn’t foolproof. The family of Ramos’ victim only got 48 hours’ notice of his hearing.

The SAVIN Program Coordinator explained the reason behind notifications not going out as they should in an email which said, “We believe there is an issue with the notifications on Joaquin Ramos being “timed out”. The tech company that developed and helps us maintain the software are working on it.”

“This highlights some deficiencies and maybe indicates it’s time for the criminal justice system generally to rethink how it’s addressing victims’ rights and maybe reducing some of the reliance on SAVIN,” USD Criminal Justice Professor, Sandy McKeown, said.

More than 7,000 people have registered for SAVIN notifications. The Attorney General’s office calls the timeout issue “rare,” and says it has been resolved.

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