Gov. Nixon Supports Proposed Advances

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo April 30, 2009- Governor Jay Nixon today said he looks forward to signing a bill that would extend the rights of crime victims in Missouri. Senate Bill 338 would allow victims of certain serious crimes to have a representative appear on their behalf at parole and probation revocation hearings and permit crime victims to receive a current photograph of the person incarcerated for the crimes against them prior to release.

Gov. Nixon was the keynote speaker at Missouri's National Crime Victim's Rights Week ceremony at the State Capitol. He told the gathering of crime victims, victims' families, crime victims' advocates and State government leaders, "Additional rights and increased funding for crime victims are more signs that this movement, which began 25 years ago, continues to gain strength -- and that is thanks to your work."

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the landmark Victims of Crime Act. The law, passed by Congress in 1984, created the Crime Victims Fund.

Gov. Nixon said Missouri is expected to receive several million dollars from the federal Recovery Act dedicated specifically to state and local crime victims' programs. "This funding will help provide direct services to crime victims, including money for shelter expenses and for more advocates; increased resources for crime victims' compensation; and money specifically to assist women who are victims of crime, with an emphasis on rural and underserved communities," Gov. Nixon said.

The Missouri Crime Victims Fund supports victim compensation programs, which reimburse victims for many out-of pocket expenses that victims face in the aftermath of the crime. It also helps fund victim assistance programs that support victims by providing physical and emotional care and guidance in navigating the criminal justice system. Since 1993, the fund has provided services to approximately 861,000 victims of crime in the State of Missouri and has paid more than $93 million in victim compensation to Missouri crime victims and their families.

Other speakers at the ceremony were Darrel Ashlock, Executive Director of Kids Harbor; Dwight Scroggins, Buchanan County Prosecuting Attorney and the President of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys; and Melanie Oldani, a courageous woman who following her sister’s murder became a vocal advocate for all victims of crime.

Gov. Nixon, a leader in supporting and expanding the rights of crime victims during his more than two decades of public service, spoke at Missouri's National Crime Victims' Rights Week ceremony for the 17th year in a row. His previous 16 addresses were as Missouri Attorney General.