Source: (2001) Association of State Correctional Administrators.
In overview, the survey findings depict a hopeful beginning for the provision of victim
services in departments of corrections. That 80 percent of the respondents to the
survey have initiated Victim Services Units (VSUs), the majority of VSUs having been
established in the past decade, demonstrate that the importance of providing victim
services and response mechanisms within departments of corrections has been broadly
acknowledged and taken hold nationally. At the same time, as demonstrated by the
relatively few departments that have assigned more than one staff person to the
function or initiated a broad range of programs and services, the provision of victim
services has as yet failed to emerge as a mission-critical, or central operational
function of corrections. The initiation of victim services is clearly a work in progress in
its early stages.
Oftentimes, correctional administrators reported, victim services have taken a
backseat not due to the lack of will or interest by correctional practitioners, as much
as the lack of resources state policymakers have made available to departments of
corrections for such services, or the prevailing competition for scarce resources to
accomplish critical tasks, the security of the institutions and the safety or correctional
staff and the communities they serve being foremost among them.
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