Yolo County Victim Awareness Workshop Reaches Major Milestone – Daily Democrat

The Yolo County District Attorney’s Victim Services Division recently completed its 50th Victim Outreach Workshop.

The program is run in conjunction with the Yolo Day Reporting Center (DRC) which is a program designed to assist those re-entering the jail and prison community using industry best practices that address criminogenic needs and client risk levels in a safe and welcoming environment. and an inclusive environment, according to a press release from the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office.

The Victim Awareness Course, led by District Attorney Heather Blair, is designed to provide those on probation or parole with a means to engage in victim-centered discussions.

For the past eight years, Blair has offered these workshops that encourage attendees to listen to real-life stories where knowledge has meaning, the press release says. Workshops have recently been offered virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of my students have committed horrible crimes, like domestic violence, but that doesn’t mean they’re horrible people,” Blair explained. “Many of my students have themselves been victims of crime. Meeting them gives me the opportunity to help develop empathy and an understanding of the lasting effects of being a victim of crime, and to show them that by increasing their knowledge and changing their future behavior, they can make part of the solution.

Workshops are offered every six weeks at DRC. At the end of the class, students complete a short survey to identify what each student takes away from the class. To date, 564 people on probation or parole have taken the course.

“We know that warehousing people in jail doesn’t rehabilitate them,” District Attorney Jeff Reisig said. “Our victims’ advocates provide invaluable support to our victims and they also work with those on probation or parole to help them understand how they can bring community and victim together.”

Pete Smith, project specialist for the Yolo RDC spoke about the partnership he has had with the Yolo DA office since 2014.

“DA victims’ advocate Heather Blair and DA support dog Aloha were the perfect balance for this program,” Smith said. “From the beginning, DRC has been so excited about the opportunity for people on parole or probation to heal and reintegrate into the community by learning to listen to the voice of the victim.”

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