Willamette Criminal Justice Council – DUII Victim Impact Panel
WCJC DUII Victim Impact Panel of Benton County
The Victim Impact Panel exists to educate people convicted of DUII or other related offences how tragic impaired driving may be. The Victim Impact Panel also provides victims of crime with an opportunity to have their experiences heard by offenders in a safe, structured environment.
The panel consists of members of our community or nearby communities who have experienced loss due to impaired driving. This includes severe injury or the loss of a loved one. Speakers give a presentation of how an impaired driver has impacted their life and the lives of their families. Law enforcement deputies/officers as well as a trauma nurse are also speakers on the panel. Their presentations display (graphically) the consequences of poor decision making. DUII Victim Impact Panels are conducted bi-monthly and last for 1.5 hours.
The taskforce began with a DUII victim impact panel and may potentially expand to include other types of crime. Any excess fees are generally used to provide grants to local law enforcement agencies in Benton County for DUII related equipment or training.
Here's what participants have said:
- More powerful than I thought it would be.
- I am deeply affected by what I heard and saw. I thank God each day that I did not cause anyone any injury (or material) or loss of life.
- I believe everyone should participate in a presentation of this nature. Everyone from teens to seniors.
- It made think and realize what could have happened the night I made a terrible decision.
- I was deeply moved by the grief caused by drinking and driving choices. I'm glad that I came. I don't have the right to chose to drink and drive.
- This impact panel has taught me that life is too precious to make the wrong choice.
- Our choices affect others.
- I never realized how much damage driving drunk has on other people.
- Makes me never want to drink and drive ever again. I don't ever want to hurt anyone because of my thoughtless actions.
- I never understood just how much my decisions could impact others in such a negative way.
WCJC Restorative Justice History
The Restorative Justice Taskforce developed after a group of persons gathered in response to the Community and Restorative Justice Conference held in Corvallis in October 2000. The group decided that it would be worthwhile to encourage Benton County to become more restorative in its responses to crime. The group invited nationally recognized restorative justice advocate, Dennis Maloney, to speak to the Willamette Criminal Justice Council in February 2001. Out of that meeting, the Restorative Justice Taskforce was developed including a wide array of community members and criminal justice representatives.
We Need Your Help
The hardest part of running this panel is finding people who are willing to share their story. It is not easy to talk to a group of offenders and share what often times is a tragic story. However, those who are able to share their experiences find the experience very rewarding. If speaking at one of our panels sounds like something you would like more information on, please contact the Panel Coordinator Jodi Robin at 541-766-6647.
Benton County is very lucky to have support from many local government and private organizations to help make this panel run. Many dedicated professionals volunteer their time and resources in an effort to make our community safer. To these people and the agencies they represent we say thank you!