The Board of Parole (BOP), the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), the Department of Correction (TDOC) and the Tennessee Rehabilitative Initiative in Correction (TRICOR) are marking 10 years of ceremonies honoring crime victims and victim advocates statewide. All events this year take place April 9-13, which coincides with the observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week.
Parole Board Chairman Richard Montgomery said, "Crime victims are a key voice in the justice system. This year's national theme is 'Expand the Circle--Reach All Victims. ' We are proud to partner with TBI, Correction and TRICOR on this statewide effort, and to make more crime victims aware of the services our agencies provide to them."
The Murfreesboro event was held Wednesday morning at the Rutherford County Workhouse on South Church Street.
TBI Director Mark Gwyn agreed. "Assisting crime victims strengthens the criminal justice system. It also helps people affected by crime to heal, and makes our communities safer. When crime victims feel understood and supported, they are more likely to seek services."
Correction Commissioner Tony Parker shared, "More than 90% of the offenders in our prisons will return to the community. This is why education is so important -- not just in the traditional sense, but education on the impact of their crimes on victims and the community. It is important for offenders to understand how their crimes affect others so they will be less likely to commit crimes in the future."
TRICOR Chief Executive Officer David Hart said, "Each partner in this effort works to serve victims and reduce crime. TRICOR provides job training to help offenders find employment after release, and pro-social programming to address behavior that may have led to incarceration. Statistically, an ex-offender who thinks differently and is gainfully employed is less likely to recidivate, which helps prevent the creation of new crime victims."
During the event, LaVergne Police Chief Mike Walker was honored with the 2018 Voice for Victims Award for the Murfreesboro area. Walker, whose career in law enforcement spans 40 years, has served in positions including Colonel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Additional events for this week take place in Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Johnson City, Jackson, Clarksville, Cookeville, and Columbia.