Editor’s note: National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) highlights the rights of victims and survivors.
As Secretary of CDCR, I am humbled by my deep personal responsibility to every person working for this department and the people rehabilitating inside our facilities. That responsibility does not end there.
Every decision we make impacts public safety, and the victim and survivor community, which we must honor and respect in all we do.
As we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19 inside our institutions, it is important that we do not forget crime victims and survivors – their strength, resilience, and their important voice in criminal justice.
As corrections professionals throughout the nation are battling this public health crisis, we are honored to recognize National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW), an annual observation that has challenged the nation to confront and remove barriers to achieving justice for all victims of crime. Each year, communities across the country revisit the history of the victims’ rights movement, celebrate the progress made, and recommit to further advancements in victims’ services.
The theme this year for NCVRW is Seek Justice, Ensure Victims’ Rights, and Inspire Hope. The NCVRW commemorates the individuals and groups whose advocacy has propelled the victims’ rights movement forward for the past half century, inspiring in victims and their loved ones a feeling of hope for progress, justice and healing.
This week and all year-round, CDCR lends an ear, a voice and vital resources to the victim and survivor community through our Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS). When victims and survivors of crime register with OVSRS, they are empowered by a comprehensive victim services program and a team committed to supporting them.
Each year during NCVRW, we recognize that community alongside hardworking staff, volunteers, partnering agencies and incarcerated people. Important victim-impact events will not continue as planned this year as we follow necessary health care guidelines, but that doesn’t mean we won’t recognize those impacted by crime.
I am asking all who work and live inside CDCR facilities, those in our headquarters and regional offices, and those teleworking in these unprecedented times, to recognize the victim and survivor community with a moment of silence at 11 a.m. on April 21, 2020.
I thank all of you for participating in this moment of silence, and I thank victims and survivors everywhere for their strength, resilience and voice.
Even in a public health crisis, you will be heard.
Ralph M. Diaz, Secretary, CDCR