The U.S. Department of Justice has recognized Hawaii Crime Victim Compensation Commission Executive Director Pamela Ferguson-Brey with the Crime Victims' Financial Restoration Award. Attorney General Eric Holder presented the award to Ferguson-Brey during the National Crime Victims' Rights Week awards ceremony on April 24 in Washington, D.C.
Ferguson-Brey, working in conjunction with Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, legislators, community stakeholders, and the Council of State Governments, ensured that the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) in Hawaii included a victim service component.
The addition of that component resulted in a standardized framework for offenders to pay restitution to crime victims. Services for victims were improved by funding 22 new advocate positions, 15 of which are for county-based victim advocates, two for a corrections-based victim service program, and five for a restitution accountability program in the commission.
"I am proud of Pam's commitment to helping crime victims get the restitution they deserve," said Gov. Abercrombie. "Pam is a reflection of our state's commitment to our Justice Reinvestment Initiative goals and the progress we have already achieved. Through her hard work, victims can be reassured that the people who committed the crimes will be held accountable for their actions."
Ferguson-Brey's efforts also led to funding for the creation of a comprehensive computer database to track restitution orders, collections and payments, and establishing the permanent Statewide Automated Victim Notification system.
In addition, Ferguson-Brey successfully advocated for an increase in the amount of restitution payable by inmates from 10 percent of inmate wages to 25 percent of all funds received by an incarcerated offender.
"Pam has worked tirelessly to help victims get back some peace of mind," said Public Safety Director Ted Sakai. "The Justice Reinvestment Initiative is helping us right-size our corrections system while, at the same time, helping victims find justice."
JRI is a data-driven approach to improve public safety, reduce corrections and related criminal justice spending, and reinvest cost savings in strategies that can decrease crime. The purpose of justice reinvestment is to manage and allocate criminal justice populations more cost-effectively, generating savings that can be reinvested in evidence-based strategies that increase public safety while holding offenders accountable.
Attorney General Holder also recognized 12 other individuals and organizations for their outstanding efforts on behalf of crime victims.
Descriptions and videos of the honorees are available at the Office for Victims of Crime's Gallery.