Unfair Punishment Part One: Victim Discrimination 

A state program that's supposed to help crime victims denies people who have had run-ins with the law or are afraid of being victimized again.

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Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice sometimes leads "healing ceremonies," for example, which give victims and family members a meaningful opportunity to grieve and reflect, said Galvis, the executive director. "It's about how we restore balance and restore that spirit for people who have suffered from trauma," he said. "There's strength and healing in letting those tears flow."

Leal said it made a huge difference when advocates like Galvis reached out to him. "These different community members came out and supported me on their own dime just because they wanted to. ... That helped me with my healing journey."

Communities United also organizes fundraisers for victims, Galvis said. This can be critical when families don't get adequate compensation from the state.

As for Samantha Rogers, she was homeless for several months in 2010 after the state refused to help her relocate. She ended up at a rescue mission and eventually received significant counseling, which helped her get back on her feet. But it took time. And Victim Compensation could have put her on a very different path, she said. "If they could've supported me back then, there's no telling where I could've been four years later."

Rogers has been off of parole for more than three years and now gets to spend more time with her four children, daughters ages 30 and 25 and sons ages 22 and 20. Today, she regularly speaks at events and marches in rallies advocating for the rights of incarcerated people.


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