Cocchi Details Efforts on Behalf of Victims of Crime by Hampden County Sheriff’s Department. Calls for Victim-Oriented Training at WMass Correctional Officer Academy.
Nick Cocchi, Assistant Superintendent of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department and a candidate for Sheriff, today detailed his and the efforts of the Department in keeping a dual focus to work to support victims of crime along with the rehabilitation of inmates and addiction patients.
“In my twenty-three year career, my focus has been on doing the job expected of us by the people of Hampden County: Rehabilitating inmates and helping the addiction patients in our care. However, equally important is caring for and assisting the citizens victimized by crime; from domestic violence, violent crime, financial fraud, to child abuse. So many of those we serve, inside and outside the facility, are at the lowest and most vulnerable times in their lives,” said Cocchi.
“If victims are to find healing, it is essential that they are provided the proper support throughout the criminal justice process. It is important that victims of crime are treated with respect and fairness as well as receive comprehensive victim centered services. I have been personally involved in this care and will continue to be personally involved as Sheriff,” said Cocchi.
“I know first-hand, from sitting with victims of crime and indirect victims, like the parents of a child with addiction issues, that the road to healing begins with a sense of trust and confidence.
The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department staff is well trained in assisting victims of crime and understands many of the nuances of the criminal justice system,” said Cocchi.
“As dedicated as the Sheriff’s Department is to strengthening the skills of everyone on our team. I want to go further. I am today proposing that victim oriented training be incorporated into the curriculum of the Western Massachusetts County Correctional Officer Academy as well as annual in-service training for all staff,” said Cocchi.
“Continued education as to the best and newest practices of helping victims of crime will allow the HCSD to better assist and serve the victims. Our crisis intervention and supportive counseling play a significant role in assisting a victim’s recovery. The HCSD assists victims of crime by helping them to understand the criminal justice system post-conviction. We address victim’s questions and concerns about an offender’s incarceration, assist victims with community resource referrals, as well as with safety planning for victims of crime,” said Cocchi
The HCSD plays a fundamental role in supporting victims of crime, not just because it is essential component of our mission, but also because it facilitates the cooperation and participation of victims in the criminal justice process,” said Cocchi.
“The HCSD has partnered with many agencies to better serve victims of crime. The successful collaboration between the HCSD, and agencies like; The Hampden District Attorney Victim/Witness Unit, DCF, YWCA, MOVA and Womanshelter is imperative and must continue. With inter-departmental partnerships, victims of crime can recapture some form of control and a sense of confidence,“ said Cocchi.
Participation in the post-conviction aspect of the criminal justice system is one step toward assisting victims in rebuilding their lives. If victims are kept well-informed about criminal proceedings and feel recognized throughout the process, they’ll feel that they are supported and part of a unified effort. With this support, victims of crime will reclaim a sense of safety, security and confidence within their communities,” said Cocchi.