Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles trains more facilitators for Victim Offender Dialogue program

Georgia Capitol
Georgia Capitol(WRDW)
Published: Dec. 12, 2021 at 12:55 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles says they’ve trained new facilitators in hopes of reaching more victims of violent crime.

The board’s Victim Offender Dialogue program has been in the state for about 10 years. Their Office of Victim Services has 29 facilitators throughout the state and recently finished training an additional 10.

This program gives victims of a violent crime a chance to sit down with offenders face to face.

Trained facilitators meet with both parties for months, separately, in preparation. The offender must agree to the meeting and acknowledge the crime they committed.

The Public Affairs Director says the most important part of this program is supporting victims.

“It is one of the most impactful programs that the board supports through our Office of Victim Services,” said Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles Public Affairs Director Steve Hayes. “I think some of the feedback has been that victims feel like their voice is finally being heard and that’s probably most what they take away from it, that they were able to express their grief and the impact of the crime.”

Hayes says there is no special parole consideration if offenders chose to participate in the program.

He also says meetings between both parties take place in a prison setting or outside of that setting if the offender has been released on parole. A trained facilitator is present for the meetings with victims and offenders.

This program is available anywhere in the state.

Victims of a violent crime need to contact the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles office of Victim Services if they’d like to participate.

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