Automated system mistakenly announces suspects are out of jail in Horry County

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Automated calls today in Horry County had some people afraid to leave their homes.

South Carolina’s Victim Information and Notification Program sent out messages saying the person who committed a crime against them was out of jail, and some victims of last week’s bank robbery in North Myrtle Beach got those calls.

Director of Victim Services at the Horry County Detention Center Angela Brown says they were busy all morning Friday answering calls from people who thought the inmate in their case was released.

Susan Safford is the Captain of Support Services at the Horry County Detention Center, and she says the service provided through J Reuben Long Detention Center is part of a partnership with the state to allow victims of crimes to know the status of the inmate.

“There is a law that requires victims, it’s victims’ rights, and they have the right to be notified prior to bond hearings and then they have the right to be notified when an inmate is released,” said Safford.

Safford says the calls received on Friday were because of an error in the state’s system.

“We have a jail management system here that gives information to the state system, and that’s what prompts the calls. Apparently the state was working on our interface and somehow they sent out notifications that people had been released from our facility when indeed they had not,” said Safford.

Both the Horry County Solicitor’s Office and Victims Services said they spent most of the day on the phone telling people there was a glitch in the system and they weren’t in danger.

“Our victim advocate office is manually calling any victim of a crime if the inmate has been released. So, the manual calls will be going out while they’re working on the system, but apparently the glitch in that system sent out calls that were erroneous and the inmates are still in custody here they have not been released,” said Safford.

According to the Manager of the Automated Victim Information and Notification Program in Columbia, Sherry Rhodes, the system is now fixed.

Rhodes says they were working to enhance information in Horry County to let people know when someone on bond gets home detention, and in the process, the system sent out the wrong information.

Comments are closed.