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Tree-Planting Events Honor Courage of Crime Victims

Monday, April 11, 2011 | 07:16am
NASHVILLE – Governor Bill Haslam, Speaker Beth Harwell and Board of Probation and Parole (BOPP) Chairman Charles Traughber are honoring crime victims during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 10 - 16) with 12 tree-planting ceremonies in communities across Tennessee. The kickoff event took place in Nashville on Monday morning, April 11, at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.  
“A tree is a symbol of strength, determination and perseverance and that is a powerful comparison to what we see from crime victims who overcome tragedy to make a difference in their communities,” Haslam said. “It is important that we remember and recognize the challenges facing victims and their families, as well as the dedication of advocates who help them in the healing process.” 
Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell, a long-time advocate for victims’ rights, delivered the keynote address for the Nashville event. She said, “Victims of crime deserve a voice to ensure fairness and justice. This week will raise awareness for the rights of victims, and highlight Tennessee’s commitment to fight for those who have been the victims of crime. I applaud the Board of Probation and Parole for their efforts on this issue.”
This is the third year the Board of Probation and Parole has organized this series of victim awareness events. Board Chairman Charles Traughber said the concerns of victims are among the agency’s top priorities. “The Board of Probation and Parole places a strong emphasis on victim input, as well as on serving victims of crime with information about the parole process. It is important that the victim’s voice is heard.”
During each event, BOPP will present a victim advocate with a Voice for Victims Award in recognition of commitment and dedication to helping crime victims. The award for Davidson County was presented to Rita Mitchell, chair of the YWCA Board of Directors. The YWCA maintains a shelter for domestic violence victims and provides them with counseling and other services as well. A statewide award was also presented honoring Sue Jones, Victim Witness Coordinator for the Tennessee Attorneys General Conference. Jones began her work in victim services as Victim Witness Coordinator for the 18th Judicial District in Sumner County. In her current role, she provides training for victim coordinators and assistants and works to educate the public on the victim witness program.
BOPP’s 2011 schedule of tree-planting events also includes ceremonies in Chattanooga, Clarksville, Clinton, Columbia, Cookeville, Jackson, Johnson City, Knoxville, Memphis, Murfreesboro and Paris. A complete list of events is included with this release.
The Board of Probation and Parole ( is an independent seven-member board whose members are appointed by the Governor. The Board is charged with the responsibility of deciding which eligible felony offenders will be granted parole and released from incarceration to community-based supervision. Along with the supervision of those granted parole, the Board is also responsible for supervising felony offenders who are placed on state-supervised probation by criminal courts. 

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