Seizing the Opportunity for Outreach, Communication and Coordination of Services in Connecticut
I had the good fortune to garner the support of my local legislator during the many frustrating weeks and months of parole hearing preparation for the perpetrator of my father’s murder, yet a second time which occurred in April 2008. It was an extremely hard fought, tremendous and exhausting victory.
I began my inquiries and advocacy in early January, which turned out to be a blessing, for the initial parole hearing in 2013 was filled with barriers and lack of competence.
My recent journey of stops, starts, lack of communication, lack of handicapped access, government stagnation, bureaucracy, and lack of proactivity on behalf of all victims was another rude awakening, for I hoped that with the passage of five year’s time, the system would have improved. It had not. Such experiences are well documented in blog and podcast form for the benefit of all on my website.
A meeting occurred in early July, literally around my dining table, that restored my faith in humanity; the fact that some politicians are willing to listen, learn, and try to affect positive change for the betterment of all who are forced to navigate the criminal justice system.
During this meeting, the conversation was energizing. Many topics were discussed with State Representative Joe Aresimowicz and his assistant, Matt Brokman. These topics included many important items on my priority list including: discussion of notification of victim services by police and advocates at varying intervals of time when a victim is more prepared to process the information; printed materials concerning constitutional rights, improving marketing of information via social media, creating a one stop-shopping website incorporating and clearly explaining all victim service entities in Connecticut; use of videoconferencing for parole hearings with compatible technology at alternate locations throughout the state rather than forcing everyone to travel to a single building (which does not comply with ADA standards) in Waterbury, CT; connecting – consolidating, eliminating redundancies in the VINE notification and Department of Corrections Victim Notifications Systems; Enforcing and using Victim Restitution as a real tool instead of only on paper; and creating a Violent Offender Registry modeling best practice states as the infrastructure already exists in Connecticut.
As a result of this July meeting, a pledge was made in writing from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Joe Aresimowicz, to convene a Legislative Working Group in January, 2019 which includes many community stakeholders, including myself, who meet on an intermittent basis in order to study an issue and, hopefully craft future legislation. Awesome!
I’ll keep you posted!