Hundreds of Crime Survivors from Across Texas Call for Reforms to Help Victims Heal, End Cycles of Crime, While Honoring Loved Ones Lost to Violence
Survivors and Elected Officials Advocate for Trauma Recovery Services and Other Reforms to Help End Cycles of Crime
AUSTIN, Texas – Hundreds of crime survivors and families of murdered Texans gathered at the statehouse today to urge lawmakers to expand support for crime victims and make communities safer. Crime survivors were joined by elected officials, including Senator Judith Zaffirini and Representative Mary González, at Survivors Speak Texas – organized by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice (CSSJ) – with families holding photos of murdered loved ones and advocating for public safety reforms.
Texas members of CSSJ are leading efforts for historic safety reforms in the state. Most recently, HB 1737, which creates an automatic process for record change, and HB 250, which expands crime victims compensation benefits, passed out of committee. SB 49, the companion to HB 250, was heard in committee.
“It’s time for us to invest in community healing to improve our state’s public safety,” said Cylenthia Hoyrd, crime survivor and member of Texas Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, who lost a loved one to violence. “Funding the state’s first trauma recovery center is an important next step to make sure that crime victims and families of murdered loved ones have the resources and support that they need to heal and recover and help break cycles of crime.”
In an emotional press conference, Hoyrd and other crime survivors with CSSJ called on elected officials to improve parole and probation by incentivising work and education, support record sealing for those who have earned it, and provide funding for the first Texas trauma recovery center.
“Communities most harmed by violence need support to heal and feel safe again,” said Terra Tucker, Texas state director for the Alliance for Safety and Justice. “Elected officials must invest in solutions that prioritize recovery as well as redemption to improve our collective safety.”
According to a statewide survey, victims prefer holding people accountable through options beyond just prison, such as rehabilitation, mental health treatment, drug treatment, community supervision, or community service by a margin of 3 to 1.
“Texas crime survivors know firsthand how crime and violence destabilizes our communities and how unaddressed trauma makes the road to recovery so difficult,” said Aswad Thomas, gun violence survivor and national director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “That’s why they’re urging elected officials to support solutions that prioritize healing and redemption to improve Texas’ collective safety.”
ABOUT CRIME SURVIVORS FOR SAFETY AND JUSTICE
Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice is a national network of crime survivors, including over 14,000 members across Texas, joining together to create healing communities and shape public safety policy. With more than 180,000 members and growing, including chapters and leaders across the country, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice is building a movement to promote public safety policies that help the people and communities most harmed by crime and gun violence. For more information, visit: https://cssj.org/.
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