February 3, 2014
The Separate and Secure Waiting Area Task Force submitted an Implementation Update to the Legislature on Friday. Task Force Co-chairs Chief Justice of the Trial Court Paula M. Carey and Mass. Office of Victim Assistance Executive Director Liam T. Lowney reported that pursuant to the updated SSWA provision of the Massachusetts Victim Bill of Rights, SSWAs have been now been designated in 79 of the 91 courthouses in which criminal business is conducted. Only four courthouses had designated areas prior to the commencement of this initiative in 2011.
This update provides information about the progress that has been made by the SSWA Task Force on this important initiative since the last Implementation Progress Report was filed in July 2013. 6 SSWAs have been designated since the July 2013 report.
The 12 remaining courthouses present design and mechanical complications that are currently under review to determine how SSWAs can be created in those buildings. The Facilities Management Department of the Trial Court has completed a number of "in house" projects and is obtaining feasibility reviews on proposals in some of the remaining courthouses.
Chief Justice Carey and Mr. Lowney express their appreciation for the cooperation and support provided statewide by judges, clerks, chief probation officers and other local personnel, including victim witness advocates in the District Attorneys' Offices, who have helped make the SSWA mandate a reality.
The Trial Court will provide the Legislature with an updated progress report in July 2014.