BOPP Plants Trees in Honor of Crime Victims
Monday, April 27, 2009 | 7:08am
Crime Victims Recognized During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
NASHVILLE - The Board of Probation and Parole (BOPP) is honoring crime victims with tree planting ceremonies in each of its eight districts this week, in observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week.
Ceremonies are scheduled in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Lawrenceburg, Clarksville and Johnson City.
BOPP Chairman Charles Traughber said victim issues are important to the Board and its support staff. “By holding offenders accountable for their actions, working to keep offenders from committing new crimes and helping victims navigate the parole process, BOPP assists victims in moving forward with their lives,” said Traughber. “Planting these trees is another way to remind victims that we empathize with their experiences, and are available to assist them with accessing the parole process.”
First Lady Andrea Conte, a former victim of crime and leading victims’ rights advocate, spoke at the Nashville event. Conte received the National Crime Victim Service Award from U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey for her work in victim advocacy during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in 2008. She also worked to create a statewide Commission on Crime Victims Assistance in August 2003, which provides recommendations regarding benefits and other issues associated with the Criminal Injury Compensation Fund.
This year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week theme is 25 Years of Rebuilding Lives: Celebrating the Victims of Crime Act. Since the measure was enacted in 1984, justice for victims has progressed dramatically. All states and the federal government have comprehensive victims’ rights laws and every state has a victim compensation fund.
“BOPP’s Victim Services Unit assists victims who want a voice in the parole process,” said BOPP Executive Director Bo Irvin. “We have victim coordinators in each of our eight districts who work to make certain that victim input is part of parole consideration.” Among the services BOPP provides to crime victims are notification of upcoming hearings, referrals to counseling agencies and in some situations, assistance in providing testimony by video. The agency’s victim services staff logged more than 22,800 victim contacts in fiscal year 2007-2008.
The Board of Probation and Parole (www.tn.gov/bopp/) is an independent seven-member board whose members are appointed by the Governor. The Board is charged with the responsibility of deciding which eligible felony offenders will be granted parole and released from incarceration to community-based supervision. Along with the supervision of those granted parole, the Board is also responsible for supervising felony offenders who are placed on state-supervised probation by criminal courts.