Hogan, Officials Vow to Protect Crime Victims

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) said last week that his administration will continue to make victims’ rights a top priority. “My most important responsibility is the safety of our Maryland citizens, and together we have already accomplished so much but there is still much work that needs to be done,” Hogan said at the third annual Maryland Crime Victims’ Rights Conference at the University of Maryland on Thursday. Hogan highlighted several measures that passed recently to tackle the issue of criminal victimization, including the Justice Reinvestment Act, which withholds 25 percent of inmates’ earnings to pay restitution to “strengthen victims’ rights”; The Repeat Sexual Predator Act, which would allow suspects’ history of sexual crimes to be used as evidence for sex offense cases; and the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, which terminates parental rights of rapists and decrees that victims will not be forced to interact with their rapist.  V. Glenn Fueston Jr., executive director, Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention “Our administration will continue to make victims’ rights a top priority and…we will continue fighting on your behalf each and every day. With all of us continuing to work together on behalf of victims, we can and we will continue [to] change Maryland for the better,” he said. V. Glenn Fueston Jr., executive director of the Governor’s Office of Crime  Control and Prevention, said with Hogan’s support, the office has enhanced services to empower victims “so that they have the knowledge and the support to heal and create new lives.” “As we move forward, we want to make sure that victims are safe, that they’re self-sufficient and they have access to information,” said Fueston. “That’s one of the things that’s really driving us forward in our decision-making process and how we’re moving things forward in the state.” Also during the conference, Mary Ann Rankin, the senior vice president and provost of the University of Maryland, discussed the initiatives and projects the university is working on to aid crime victims. “The faculty and students of the [university’s] Department of Criminology conduct research and provide services to help fight crime and assist crime victims,” Rankin said, noting that the department is currently working on a project with University of Maryland Baltimore, in which they help law enforcement officials understand implicit bias by using virtual reality. The university has also established a safe center at its School of Public Policy, sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, which provides services to victims of human trafficking, Rankin said. Recently, the Felony Human Trafficking Act, which would have classified the worst of human trafficking cases as a violent crime, did not pass. But Hogan vowed that the administration will push again to get this legislation passed next year and “will continue to fight to end human trafficking in Maryland.”

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