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Governor Backs Measures to Aid Crime Victims

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Gov. George Deukmejian, pledging his support for two crime measures scheduled to go before the voters this year, stressed Wednesday that crime victims need to be given as much attention as criminal defendants.

“When one hears the cries of sorrow of these innocent people, plus the cries of those others who have suffered at the hands of criminals, it is hard to imagine any group of people more deserving of our attention,” Deukmejian said at the Governor’s Conference on Victims’ Services and Public Safety at the Anaheim Hilton and Towers.

The governor told a group of 2,000 law enforcement officers, volunteers and people who work with crime victims that passing the Crime Victims Justice Reform Act would be one step toward addressing the problem.

The act, which will appear as Proposition 115 on Tuesday’s ballot, proposes increasing the jail penalties for crimes such as torture and murder and speeding up the criminal trial process.

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“The mindless prolongation of judicial proceedings destroys the integrity of our criminal justice system and destroys the lives of victims and their families,” the governor said.

The other initiative, called the Prison Inmate Initiative of 1990, would give the state the authority to make convicted criminals work to help offset what it costs to keep them in prison. The initiative, scheduled to appear on the November ballot, would also allow a portion of the wages earned by inmates to be set aside as compensation to their victims.

Following his speech, Deukmejian presented 30 people with the 1990 Governor’s Victim Services and Public Safety Awards. The awards recognize individuals and programs that have made significant contributions in the areas of victim services and public safety. Recipients were chosen from more than 200 nominations submitted by community-based organizations, law enforcement agencies and victim services providers.

Since 1984, the state has sponsored an annual program recognizing providers of victim services.

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