By Joe Orlando, CDCR Public Information Officer
Photos by Eric Owens, CDCR Staff Photographer
Office of Public and Employee Communications
CDCR observed National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with a community event in Sacramento’s Fremont Park on April 12, which included a ceremony and moment of silence to remember and honor victims, survivors and families affected by crime.
“I am very proud of CDCR’s continued commitment to victims,” said CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan. “Victims and their advocates offer an important perspective and we help make sure their voices are clearly heard in the criminal justice system, specifically within CDCR. Our renewed focus on rehabilitating offenders will help reduce victimization.”
The event was organized by CDCR’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS), which provides comprehensive services to crime victims and families. Other organizations in attendance included the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Parents of Murdered Children, Volunteers in Victim Assistance, Crime Victims Coalition, Citizens Against Homicide and Women Escaping a Violent Environment.
Tracie Stafford was the keynote speaker. She was abused throughout her life and is now a survivor advocate.
“I’m working hard through all the hurt, all the pain,” Stafford told the crowd. “It’s just been boxed up for so long. I was a victim. I’m now a survivor, and always ready to share my story and help others work through the pain.”
In California, victims of crime have rights, including notification of an offender’s status, participation in the juvenile and criminal justice processes, and reimbursement by the offender for costs related to their offense against a victim, to name a few. Formed in 1988, OVSRS offers services to crime victims and families, including outreach and restitution. OVSRS may also refer victims to agencies that provide counseling and support services.
Of note, in 2015 a total of $22,124,109 was collected in victim restitution and fines from adult and juvenile offenders. Collected funds are transferred to the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board for eventual disbursement to victims, as well as support of victim services programs statewide. Also last year, OVSRS staff assisted 2,062 victims and next-of-kin to attend their offender’s parole hearing process, either in person or via audio/video conferencing. In addition, OVSRS spent more than $80,000 to help more than 470 victims and families attend parole suitability hearings.
This year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is observed from April 10-16. For more information on other statewide events throughout the week, visit www.cdcr.ca.gov/victim_services/docs/VictimsWk-calendar-2016.pdf.
For more information on OVSRS, visit www.cdcr.ca.gov/Victim_Services/index.html.