The Wyoming Board of Parole has approved the establishment of a victim-offender dialog program. The program will create an avenue for perpetrators and victims of a crime to meet in person and talk, which advocates say helps the healing process for both parties.
The Board of Parole’s Victim Services Coordinator, Randi Losalu, says this approach gives victims of crimes more of an opportunity to be heard.
“It’s really the victim’s opportunity to speak and say this is how you affected me through your actions. And I think that would be very empowering for a victim to be able to say, but also for an offender to be able to hear the words and know exactly what happened,” says Losalu.
She says the meeting has to come about when both victim and offender are ready: “At any point in time either the victim or the offender can say that they don’t want to participate and then that’s it, then it’s done. The victim has to request it and the offender has to want to participate, and it’s completely voluntary. It has no bearing on the sentence structure, on good time, on anything.”
Losalu and other volunteers will travel to Montana in September for a training seminar on how to conduct such meetings.