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Every April in communities across Texas, crime victims, victim advocates, criminal justice professionals and the general public commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. For 30 years Texas has been a leader in the victims’ rights movement, and there is no better time than now for Texans to focus on the hard-won rights that victims of crime in our state have earned.
Crime victims, determined to overcome the effects of crime and regain control of their lives, were the driving force behind the creation of the Texas Crime Victim Bill of Rights, which became law in 1985. Prior to that, crime victims in Texas had little or no opportunity to participate in the criminal justice process. Even among criminal justice professionals, few were aware of victims’ needs: to feel secure, to be informed, and to be heard and heeded by the criminal justice system.
In May 1993, a Victim Services section was established in the Parole Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The section notified crime victims, whose offenders were incarcerated within TDCJ, about their offender’s status, particularly in regards to the parole review process.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice demonstrated its commitment to crime victims when “to assist victims of crime” was added to the agency mission statement and elevated the Victim Services section to division status in 1997.
National Crime Victims Rights’ Week
The first crime victims’ rights week was organized in 1975 by the district attorney’s office in Philadelphia. Six years later, President Reagan established National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) as an annual event. Since its inception, NCVRW has challenged the nation to reshape the future by seeking rights, resources, and protections needed to rebuild crime victims’ lives.
The 2011 NCVRW theme – Reshaping the Future, Honoring the Past – recognizes the ability of the victims and their advocates to alter history and transform lives. Each year, we celebrate decades of hard-earned progress and renew our commitment to overcome the harm caused by crime. By asserting rights and mobilizing resources that did not exist 30 years ago, victims hope to reshape their destinies by overcoming the negative effects of crime.
The U.S. Department of Justice will officially begin National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with the Annual National Candlelight Observance on Thursday, April 7, in Washington, D.C. The Attorney General’s National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony, which honors individuals and programs for innovations and outstanding achievements, will be held on Friday, April 8, also in Washington, D.C. For times, locations, and other event details, visit http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw/events.html.
TDCJ Victim Services will join with other agencies and advocacy groups to host a statewide event honoring crime victims and their advocates on April 14 and 15 in Austin.
The Victim Services Division invites all TDCJ employees to support NCVRW by participating in scheduled activities in communities all across Texas. These events, which include community walks and runs, education and art expos, and a variety of recognition ceremonies, are designed to increase awareness of victims’ rights issues and the accomplishments achieved during the victims’ rights movement.
For more information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, contact the Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse at 800-848-4284 or 512-406-5931, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
The second quarter of the Chairman’s Football League was another success. For this quarter, employees were challenged to continue regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle, with points being earned for practicing healthful activities. Congratulations to the following divisional winners and other top competitors.
39 or fewer employees
Region III Office
40 to 99
|Houston III District
|Administrative Review||Agribusiness, Land
100 to 199 employees
|Fort Stockton Unit||Tulia Unit||Information
200 to 299 employees
|Lynaugh Unit||Cole State Jail||Stevenson Unit|
300 or more employees
|Jester IV Unit||Manufacturing and Logistics||Hightower Unit|
The Lynaugh Unit and the Fort Stockton Unit won repeat championships in their respective divisions, with Lynaugh earning the most points of all participating groups for the second time in a row. Congratulations also go out to employees of the Windham School District, who topped Division 7 with 15,939 points.