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Virginia Lawmakers Consider Victims Rights Bills

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By Meymo Lyons

Two bills making their way through the General Assembly would give victims of violent crime the ability to meet with their offender in prison.

One bill would give victims the right to meet their offender. Another would create a restorative justice program that includes victim-offender mediation. Both passed their respective chambers last week.

Victims seeking a face-to-face meeting with their attackers must obtain permission from the Department of Corrections. The department takes into account the type of crime committed, the inmate's behavior and the reason for the visit, among other things.

The department receives 10-15 such requests a year, and half are approved.

Meanwhile, anyone else can visit an inmate simply by filling out the required form and getting on the visitation list.

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