FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | April 25, 2020
Closing out National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Music Artists & Elected Officials Join Thousands of Crime Victims from across Country to Call for Renewed Attention to Crime Survivors during #SurvivorsSpeak Virtual Conference
As two biggest COVID outbreaks in nation are in prisons, crime victims make call for reduced incarceration and increased community investments
Virtual conference includes award-winning music artists, T-Pain, Mario and Diana Gordon
As Saturday, April 25 marks the end of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, thousands of crime victims from across the country will be joined by elected officials and award-winning artists, T-Pain, Mario and Diana Gordon for a virtual #SurvivorsSpeak event on Facebook Live. There will be discussions and performances, as well as a call for renewed attention from state and federal leaders to the needs of crime survivors across the country, as COVID-19 has intensified challenges for crime victims and communities. Crime survivors will specifically urge for the safe reduction of incarceration through responsible releases and increased investments in support for survivors and communities to stop the spread of the virus and promote safety. During the conference, members of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, a national network of over 42,000 crime survivors will urge support for the #StopTheSpread Action Plan that aligns with their priorities of prevention, rehabilitation, trauma recovery over more spending on over-incarceration.
“This pandemic has only strengthened the need for our local, state, and federal government to focus on priorities that will actually keep communities safe both during these times and beyond them,” said Aswad Thomas, managing director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice (CSSJ). “Support for basic community health needs — emergency shelter, trauma recovery, mental health and more — need to be met, while we reduce unnecessary incarceration and our wasteful spending on it. Crime survivors like myself believe that by providing additional resources and services for crime victims and communities in need, we can be better protected from a pandemic and safer during and beyond this crisis.”
Robert Rooks, CEO, of Alliance for Safety and Justice & Co-Founder of CSSJ stated “An estimated 63 million people were the victim of a crime in the U.S. in the last 10 years, and half of those were the victim of a violent crime. Yet, only about 1 in 9 survivors of violent crime report ever receiving any services from a victim services agency and 2 out of every 3 victims receive no help at all. We need to ensure crime victims receive the help they need to heal both during COVID-19 and afterwards. It’s clear that over-incarceration is taking away resources to meet basic health and safety needs, while failing to make us safer and endangering everyone to the further spread of Coronavirus.”
As part of the virtual conference, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, Miami State Senator José Javier Rodríguez, Ohio State Representative Stephanie Howse, Michigan State Representative Bronna Kahle, Texas State Representative James White, and other elected officials across the country outlined plans for addressing these urgent needs in their states.
Alliance for Safety and Justice surveys of crime victims both nationally and in many states have found that a majority of victims prefer shorter prison sentences and instead, more spending on crime prevention to longer prison sentences. Crime survivors consistently express support for prioritizing prevention, rehabilitation and treatment.
The Alliance for Safety and Justice launched its #StopTheSpread Action Plan, supported by dozens of organizations and entertainment companies, calling for the safe reduction of incarceration and key investments into communities most at-risk during the pandemic to protect against COVID-19’s spread.
Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice is a national network of over 42,000 crime survivors from across the country. Each chapter works with communities most impacted by crime and violence to support survivors and advocate for smarter justice and safety priorities.
For more information: