Crime Prevention and Victim Services encompasses Victim Assistance, Victim Compensation, and Youth Services. Our mission has been expanded under the leadership of Attorney General Jim Hood to focus on avenues which promote crime prevention measures for the safety of the citizens of Mississippi and provide services for victims of crime.
The Victim Assistance Program serves as the single point of contact for crime victims, provides a toll free information and referral line, assists with completion of financial aid applications, connects victims to support groups, educates law enforcement on victim rights and services, assists victims with invoking their rights and obtaining case and offender status and provides immediate notification to victims and survivors who have cases pending before the Mississippi Court of Appeals and the Mississippi Supreme Court. The Victim Assistance Program emphasis is providing assistance to individuals who live in rural areas where local victim services are not available.
The Crime Victim Compensation Program provides financial assistance to victims of crime and their family members. The goal of the division is to provide a method of compensating and assisting those persons who are innocent victims of criminal acts and who suffer bodily injury or death. In addition, the Division provides information referrals and advocacy outreach programs. Victim Compensation operates with revenue derived from fees, fines and assessments imposed on criminals, court ordered restitution and federal grants. Applicants can apply for reimbursement which may include lost wages, mental health and medical treatment and funeral expenses.
A hospital/clinic is responsible for submitting the bill for a sexual assault medical forensic examination to the Office of the Attorney General, Division of Victim Compensation. No bill for the examination will be submitted to the victim, nor shall the medical facility hold the victim responsible for payment. (Section 99-37-25 of the Mississippi Code Annotated)
The Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) helps victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, who have moved to a new location unknown to their abuser or stalker, keep their new location confidential from their abuser or stalker. While not a witness protection program or a total guarantee of safety, the ACP along with other components of an overall safety plan can help victims as they work to increase their overall safety.
The Office of the Attorney General is dedicated to improving the lives of Mississippi's youth. The Youth Services Program is committed to ensuring the safety and well being of each child. Prevention efforts continue to reduce juvenile delinquency, truancy, exploitation and child abuse through the creation and promotion of after school programs, mentoring initiatives and training seminars. This office has partnered with many state agencies, as well as, non profit organizations to expand the services available to children in need.
The Office of the Attorney General is involved in many youth programs. Some of those include:
Youth Patrols are student organizations empowered to assist school administrators in preventing and reporting crime on school campuses. Youth Patrols are supervised by designated faculty. Students patrol the schools in pairs and report potential problems or trespassers via two-way radios; however, students do not intervene. Participating schools receive two-way radios, identifying arm bands, training manuals and posters. This is a collaborative effort between the Office of the Attorney General, Mississippi Crime Stoppers, and the Mississippi Department of Education. For more information you may contact our office at 601-359-4207.
Champions for Children, formerly known as the Mississippi Mentoring Network, is a non profit organization that awards competitive scholarships to high school seniors who demonstrate a commitment to improving the lives of children in their communities by mentoring a minimum of 100 hours. These seniors also participate in an essay contest and fulfill other requirements. Winners of the scholarships are evaluated on their mentoring experience, the submitted essay, and letters of support they provide. APPLICATION available here.
Download The Champions for Children Scholarship Application. Please, read carefully and follow all instructions. You can also visit the Champions for Children website.Do the Write Thing
The Office of the Attorney General works with the Mississippi Department of Education, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and public schools throughout the state in sponsoring an essay contest for seventh and eighth graders. The state winners are accompanied by their teachers to Washington, D.C. where they present their essays on preventing youth violence to their Mississippi congressmen and the Librarian of Congress. The students also have an opportunity to meet with Department of Justice officials to discuss their perspectives on preventing violence.
Teen Court is a juvenile diversion program available for certain offenders who have waived all right of confidentiality and privilege against self-incrimination. This is a preventive program for juveniles who are not less than thirteen nor more than seventeen years of age. Students serve as prosecutor, defense counsel, bailiff, court clerk and jurors. The program is to administer the "sentencing" or disposition phase of the proceedings against offenders who elect to participate and who are eligible. The program is under the guidance of the local youth court and must be approved by the local youth court. The youth court judge, or his designee who is a licensed attorney, presides. Any school participating in the Teen Court Program is allowed to credit the time of teachers and students spent in participating in teen court as instructional time. For more information, please visit the YouthCourt Website or contact our office at 601-359-4243.
Through a grant from the Office of the Attorney General, the first juvenile drug court was established in Natchez, Mississippi. The program works in conjunction with the Adolescent Offender Program and provides needed treatment for those young people with substance and alcohol abuse problems who are in the juvenile justice system. A representative from the Crime Prevention and Victims Services Division participates on the Mississippi State Drug Court Advisory Committee, established by the Mississippi Legislature. The Committee makes recommendations to the Chief Justice and the Director of the Administrative Office of Courts concerning improvement in drug court policies and procedures. For more information, you may contact our office at 601-359-4243.