Crime Victims’ Voices are Heard through Victim Impact Sessions
ATLANTA – The State Board of Pardons and Paroles is engaging crime victims through Victim Impact Sessions. The Parole Board and the Georgia Office of Victim Services conducted two more Victim Impact Sessions this week.
On Tuesday, a Victim Impact Session was hosted by the Appalachian Judicial Circuit at the Gilmer County Courthouse. Thursday, the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit hosted a Victim Impact Session in Canton in Cherokee County.
Victim Impact Sessions are meetings between a Parole Board Member and crime victims from the judicial circuit. The Victim Impact Sessions concentrate on cases that the Georgia Parole Board is about to review and determine if parole will be granted. Information provided by victims is added to the case files of offenders that will be reviewed by the five-member parole board.
Parole Board Member David Herring met with crime victims at both Victim Impact Sessions.
“It is important that we have these personal meetings with crime victims. The victims now have a better understanding of the parole decision making process and they have had this opportunity to describe the impact of the crime including how it has affected them over time,” says Herring.
“As a Board Member, it is important to hear firsthand from these crime victims,” he added.
Herring explained the parole process in detail to the victims attending this week’s sessions.
Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee thanked the Board for meeting with her office and crime victims.
“Meeting with these victims was significant for several reasons, but especially in that it allowed the victims to have a voice and to be heard. This collaboration with the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles assists the District Attorney’s Office in its mission to Seek Justice, Serve Justice, and Do Justice,” she stated.
The meetings include opportunities for Georgia Office of Victim Services’ staff and the Board’s clemency staff to meet with the district attorney’s staff and their victim’s staff to strengthen victim services and to answer questions about the parole process.
Victim Services staff from Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit District Attorney Shannon Wallace’s office attended the Thursday meetings.
Executive Director of the Parole Board, Chris Barnett says the Board will continue to engage, educate, and encourage active participation in the parole process to enhance agency operations and public safety.
“We are continuously working to engage all stakeholders in the parole process. It is important that we are all engaged to reach the best possible parole decisions,” Barnett stated.
Barnett says victims and prosecutors are key stakeholders and provide the Board with necessary offender case information.
Learn more about the State Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Georgia Office of Victim Services at https://pap.georgia.gov/ or contact Communications Director Steve Hayes at 404-657-9450 or [email protected].