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Crime Victims Honored by Three State Criminal Justice Agencies

Monday, April 07, 2014 | 12:36pm

Nashville --- Trees are being planted in eight communities across Tennessee this week to recognize and honor victims of crime. The Tennessee Board of Parole, the Department of Correction and TRICOR are partnering to plan the events, which will also honor victim advocates during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

“Assisting crime victims in understanding and navigating the parole process is a vital part of our work,” said Board Chairman Richard Montgomery. “These events highlight the importance of victim impact in the criminal justice process.”

Department of Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield agreed. “Both the Board and TDOC place a strong emphasis on victim services,” he said. Maintaining safe communities is a core value for the department, and we are pleased to partner with the Board and with TRICOR to demonstrate our joint concern for crime victims.”

Each tree planted includes a marker to remind the public that it was planted in honor of crime victims. “TRICOR makes sure each tree is marked,” said Chief Executive Officer Patricia Weiland. “These events are important, and we are honored to be a full sponsor in hosting them.”

Domestic violence survivor Lindsey Arp was the keynote speaker at the kickoff event at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park in Nashville. Arp was asleep in 2011 when her then-boyfriend poured hot cooking grease over her body. She spent weeks in the hospital and has endured numerous surgeries and physical therapy. Her assailant was convicted and received the maximum sentence of 40 years for the crime. Arp’s recovery is not complete, but she is determined to speak out about the crime of domestic violence.

Two victim advocates were honored during the event. The statewide honoree for 2014 is Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Assistance Special Agent in Charge Margie Quin. In her 16 years at TBI, Quin has managed the AMBER Alert Program, Gang Intelligence, the Top 10 Most Wanted and the Missing Children’s Clearinghouse, and supervises TBI’s anti-terrorism agents. She also oversees the state’s Sex Offender Registry and TBI’s efforts to combat Human Sex Trafficking.

The Davidson County honoree for this year is Verna Wyatt, Executive Director of Tennessee Voices for Victims. Wyatt was drawn to victim services following the 1991 murder of her sister-in-law. She served many years as executive director of You Have the Power, the victim advocacy group founded by former First Lady Andrea Conte, before founding Tennessee Voices for Victims in 2012.

Additional tree planting events for this week are scheduled for Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Clarksville and Bristol.