BOPP Plants Trees to Honor Crime Victims
Monday, April 19, 2010 | 9:24am
Victims and Advocates Recognized During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
NASHVILLE –The Board of Probation and Parole (BOPP) is observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week by planting trees in each of its eight districts. Events are scheduled in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Jackson, Chattanooga, Murfreesboro, Kingsport, Lawrenceburg, Dyersburg, Clarksville and Union City.
First Lady Andrea Conte, a former victim of crime and leading victims’ rights advocate, spoke at the kickoff event today in Nashville. She said, “Crime victims have a right to fairness, dignity and respect. Raising awareness of victims’ issues helps ensure justice for everyone.”
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. In 1993, she founded You Have the Power…Know How to Use It, a non-profit corporation dedicated to raising awareness about crime and justice issues. Conte continues her commitment through the expansion of Child Advocacy Centers to each of the state’s 31 judicial districts. She has walked annually to raise awareness about child abuse and raise funds for these centers.
BOPP Chairman Charles Traughber said the Board of Probation & Parole places a strong emphasis on assisting victims. “Victim input is an important part of parole consideration. Our victim coordinators guide crime victims through the parole process. They provide hearing notifications, help victims file impact statements and arrange for them to testify at hearings. Victims can even testify via video, if that meets their needs.”
BOPP has two full-time and 12 part-time victim coordinators statewide. In the first 10 months of this fiscal year, they have had more than 11,000 contacts with victims.
During its tree-planting events this week, BOPP is also honoring victim advocates with Voice for Victim Awards. Two advocates were recognized at the Nashville event for their service to victims. Valerie Craig of You Have the Power…Know How to Use It was named BOPP’s statewide honoree. Teresa Shearon of the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office received an award for her work with victims in the Nashville area. Other regional awards will be presented as events continue this week.
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.