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May 2008

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


Victims Advisory Group Formed

The U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) has formed a standing advisory group to provide it with “insight and advice on the operation of the federal sentencing guidelines from the perspective of victims of federal crime.”

The six-member Victims Advisory Group (VAG) represents a number of groups and organizations interested in victims’ issues at the federal level. Mary Lou Leary, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, will serve as chair. The other VAG members are Douglas E. Beloof, Director, National Crime Victim Law Institute, Lewis & Clark Law School; Russell P. Butler, Executive Director, Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center; Montie R. Deer, former Assistant United States Attorney; Pat Sekaquaptewa, Executive Director, The Nakwatsvewat Institute; and Howard Zehr, Professor of Restorative Justice; Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.

“The Commission’s formation of a standing victims advisory group represents its interest in receiving input on victims’ issues associated with federal crimes as they relate to the Commission’s work,” said USSC chair Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa. Members were selected to provide the Commission with a victim-centered perspective on federal sentencing issues and provide a key educational role in disseminating sentencing-related information to victims groups and other interested advocacy groups.

In September 2006, the Judicial Conference recommended to the Commission that it establish a Crime Victims Rights Advisory Group, to “facilitate the exchange of ideas and information between crime victim advocates and the Sentencing Commission.” VAG joins the standing Probation Officers Advisory Group (“POAG”) and the Practitioners Advisory Group (“PAG”) that are dedicated to providing information and practitioner insight to the Commission.