Nearly 50 Columbus residents attend crime victims' memorial in Forsyth

Nearly 50 Columbus residents boarded a bus for Forsyth, Georgia Monday morning. The group has something in common—they've each lost a loved in a violent crime.

The crime victims are set to visit the Georgia Department of Corrections to speak with parole board members and honor National Crime Victim's Right's Week.

They departed from Peachtree Mall at 7:30am.

The group will also attend a statewide memorial, said Shelly Hall, Director of Victim Services.

"This is an opportunity for the victims to position themselves to avoid any surprises—running into their offender in the mall after being released from prison. They can have their contact information updated so they are informed when the inmate is released," explained Hall.

In some cases, family members have also been successful in having a prisoner's time behind bars extended, according to Hall.

They write letters and make appearances at parole meetings. One inmate, in particular, should have been released in 7 years, but he's still locked going into the eighth year.

The Muscogee County Marshal's and Sheriff's Offices are providing transportation. The bus is expected to return by 6 PM Monday. District Attorney Julia Slater is also scheduled to be there for the departure.

Columbus will hold a local memorial Saturday morning at 10 am at the Brick Memorial on the Riverwalk near the Civil War Naval Museum.