Montgomery County DA’s office loses all victims advocate positions
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Montgomery County district attorney’s office is feeling the effects of losing its five victims advocates. The positions are being eliminated because of a lack of funding.
Several years ago, the district attorney’s office was able to hire five victims advocates with a federal grant though the Victims of Crime Act. This position has proven critical for victims and their families navigating the criminal justice system.
“Victims need someone that they can count on to inform them about the process, that goes to court with them, informs them of all the trial dates, status dates, all the things that are going on with the case,” said District Attorney Daryl Bailey. “They help them get counseling. They help them with restitution. They do a lot of things.”
Bailey said with the grant funding now gone and no alternative funding source, they were forced to let all five of their victims advocates go. This comes at a time when Bailey says they are needed the most.
“We have a lot of victims here in Montgomery. Just in homicides, we’re approaching 300 that we have pending in our office. That’s a lot of families,” said Bailey.
The district attorney’s office is trying to fill the gaps, but it has been difficult.
“Now the victims that were being serviced by those victim advocates, they’re having to rely on everybody else in our office to try to pick up that work. And it just doesn’t work very well because we are so overworked and understaffed already,” said Bailey.
He said the impact of losing the advocates extends beyond his office.
“Unfortunately victims of crime who have already suffered because of the crimes that have been perpetrated against them are now having to suffer because of the inequities in the criminal justice system,” said Bailey.
Bailey said they are searching for ways to try to resolve this and possibly hire a victim advocate back. He said they are working with the county to see what permanent funding is available.
There were other district attorney’s offices around the state that were faced with the same challenge with grant money running out. Some of those offices were able to absorb the cost or, in some cases, the county picked up the cost.
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