ResourcesLetter from Anne Seymour
Anne Seymour is a Co-founder and Senior Advisor of the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Justice Solutions, specializing in criminal and juvenile justice, crime victims’ rights and services, and community safety. Her current work includes public policy development, training and technical assistance, program evaluation, strategic planning, and research in victim assistance, corrections-based victim services, family violence, the news media’s coverage of crime, juvenile justice, and restorative justice, as well as developing new technologies to improve criminal justice and victim services. She wrote us this letter that we are proud to share:
I am so honored to strongly support the Community Justice Center’s Offenders Motivational – Crime Victims Impact Class. This is a truly important program that helps offenders understand the impact of their actions on their victims, their own families, their community, and themselves.
The concept of victim awareness programming began over 35 years ago, and has grown to become a basic and critical component of offender accountability programming. Far too often, crime victims and survivors report crimes and serve as witnesses in criminal and juvenile justice cases, yet feet that they are still not considered to be key stakeholders in our Nation’s justice processes.
Victim impact/offender accountability classes change this perception and reality. They bring to light the important fact that crime hurts individual, real people, and that victims’ lives are forever changed by crime. They help emphasize the fact that our neighborhoods, schools and communities are negatively affected by crime and, that in order to successfully reintegrate back into our communities, convicted and adjudicated offenders must accept responsibility and accountability for their actions, and commit to improve their lives Finally, they offer an important opportunity for offenders to examine themselves — the negative experiences in their lives that they can turn into positive actions, and how such positive actions can lead them down a path of responsibility, accountability and good citizenship.
If you’re a victim or survivor volunteering for this program, I thank you for your commitment to justice, and for selflessly sharing your personal experiences so that the class participants can better understand the physical, emotions, financial, social and spiritual impact of crime on victims.
If you’re an offender who is participating in this program, I urge you to “listen and learn:. The power of the personal story of victims and knowledge of victim impact will help you become a better person, and accept responsibility for your actions.
And to the Community Justice Center, I salute you for your innovation, and for this important program that unites crime victims and survivors, those who have hurt them, and our communities under one “umbrella” of justice for all.
National Crime Victim Advocate