Crime Victims, Advocates Awarded at Annual Ceremony
As the nation continues to recognize National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Attorney General Jim Hood was joined by other victims’ rights leaders Tuesday in presenting four awards honoring Mississippi crime victims and those who are advocates for victims in our state. The awards were presented at the annual Mississippi’s Crime Victims’ Rights Awards Ceremony, which held the theme “Honoring our Past: Creating Hope for our Future.”
The award recipients included the following:
The Attorney General’s Crime Victim Compensation Division presented the following award:
- Distinguished Service Award: Brenda Hendricks, Billing Specialist II, University of Mississippi Medical Center
- Brenda was recognized for her diligence in providing the division with billing documentation essential to processing the requests for medical expenses from victims of violent crimes.
The Mississippi Coalition for Survivors of Homicide presented the following 2019 Amy Clayton Awards:
- The Amy Clayton Justice Achievement Award: Investigator Bill Lott, Lieutenant, Starkville Police Department
- Lt. Lott was recognized with this award for his tireless dedication in investigating the 1990 “Labor Day” murders of Betty Jones and Kathryn Crigler, whose suspected killer was identified and arrested in 2018 after testing the DNA of more than 60 people over nearly three decades.
- The Amy Clayton Victim Service Award: Joy Jones, Bureau Director I, VAWA Administrator, Office Against Interpersonal Violence
- Jones was recognized for her many years of exceptional work in assisting victims of violent crime. Victim advocacy has been Jones’ chosen profession since 2001, where she has served in many different capacities such as grant coordinator and shelter director for Care Lodge in Meridian, Deputy Director of the Crime Victim Compensation Division with the Mississippi Office of the Attorney General, volunteer for the Mississippi Coalition for Survivors of Homicide, and Violence Against Women Act grant administrator for the Mississippi Department of Health, Office Against Interpersonal Violence.
- The Amy Clayton Volunteer Award: Danny and Lisa Mann, volunteers for the Mississippi Coalition for Survivors of Homicide
- After the murder of her father in 1989, Lisa and her husband, Danny Mann, began volunteering at Shafer Center for Crisis Intervention in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and the Mississippi Coalition for Survivors of Homicide. Lisa is now a full time employee of the Shafer Center, coordinating their efforts for victims of homicide, and both she and Danny continue to use the insight they have gained from their personal experience as homicide survivors to bring awareness to victim issues and provide supportive services to victims of violent crime.
Paula Granger, Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator of the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence, presented the following award:
- Image of Resilience Survivor Award: Shavonne Osborne
- Shavonne is a survivor of domestic violence who has used that negative situation to give a voice to the voiceless by helping other victims through her volunteerism with domestic violence organizations.
“I speak for many in the attorney general’s office in saying how thankful I am for each of these award recipients for using their time and talents to assist victims of crime in our state,” General Hood said. “One of my proudest efforts during my time as attorney general has been helping victims and making sure our office is staffed with and collaborates with people who truly care about someone in their darkest moment. I’m incredibly appreciative of the hard working staff in our office’s Bureau of Victim Assistance who spend each day doing whatever they can to make sure victims receive the financial assistance and direct services needed during the aftermath of a violent crime.”
The Crime Victim Compensation Program, administered by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Victim Assistance, reimburses eligible crime victims or next-of-kin for crime related expenses not covered by other sources, such as insurance. This past fiscal year, the program distributed more than $2.5 million to 999 Mississippi victims of crime who were in need of financial support due to injuries related to the criminal acts perpetrated against them. Eligible applicants may receive compensation for medical treatment, mental health services, funeral costs, and several other types of expenses. The maximum amount distributed per crime is $20,000.
For more information on the services provided by the Bureau of Victim Assistance, call (800) 829-6766 or (601) 359-6766 or visit www.agjimhood.com. This year’s ceremony was made possible through partnerships with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, Mississippi Coalition for Survivors of Homicide, and Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence.