News Release Immediate
Department of Correction
April 1, 2004
Letter to the Editor: National Crime Victims' Rights Week
April 10-16, 2005
The week of April 10-16 marks the 25th anniversary of National Crime Victims's Rights Week - a time for all of us to reflect on the needs and rights of victims of crime.
Most people perceive that the only way crime touches them is through headlines in the newspaper or on television-they observe it at a distance with concern and sympathy. However, crime victims are not anonymous. They are our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Their physical, emotional, spiritual and financial scars run deep and they deserve our deepest support and compassion.
Years ago, there were no "victim" rights. That changed in part when President Ronald W. Reagan proclaimed the first National Crime Victims' Rights Week in 1981 and created a President's Task Force on Victims of Crime. Through the work of the Task Force and subsequent legislative and funding initiatives passed through Congress, a strong national foundation of victim services developed. Massachusetts passed a Victim Bill of Rights in 1984, summarizing responsibilities of victim witness assistance programs and specifying rights and services for victims and witnesses of crime.
Today, the Massachusetts Department of Correction notifies victims of crime throughout the Commonwealth when an inmate in our custody is transferred to lower security, with further notification provided when inmates are released from incarceration. The Mass. Department of Correction Victim Service Unit ensures that these and other services are delivered with compassion and respect.
Additionally, community and justice-system based programs have grown to serve as a comprehensive and coordinated support system for victims. Together, we strive every day to remember the victims that so many others have forgotten.
"Justice isn't Served until Crime Victims Are," the theme of this year's Victims' Rights Week, signifies that crime victims in Massachusetts have rights and services to aid them in the aftermath of criminal victimization. If you or someone you know is a victim of crime, please call the Mass. Department of Correction Victim Service Unit toll free at 866-684-2846, or visit our web site www.ma.gov/doc for information and assistance.
Kathleen M. Dennehy,