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Finding Resolution (Video)

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This videotape from the National Organization for Victim Assistance discusses the ways that violent crime victims’ families may obtain resolution by witnessing the execution of convicted murderers.
Through interviews with violent crime victims families, victim advocates, State prosecutors, and department of corrections staff, this videotape details the manner in which families of crime victims may seek and obtain resolution through witnessing the execution of their family members’ murderer. Developed by the National Organization for Victim Assistance, this video begins with a series of interviews with crime victims’ family members. Recounting the murders of their loved ones, these family members describe their feelings of loss, fear, helplessness, frustration, and the importance of finding support groups for assistance in coping. Following the introduction is a segment entitled “What Prosecutors Can Do” in which Pennsylvania State Attorney office members and victims advocate staff discuss the importance of being sensitive and accessible to crime victim family members as they go through the trial and sentencing process. In “Sentencing,” family members recount the satisfaction felt upon learning that their family members’ murders were receiving the death penalty. “The Long Wait,” describes the frustration these family members experience as the result of appeal processes and re-trials. In “Crime Victims as Witness to Execution,” family members describe the sense of closure they seek as the result of watching executions. Victims advocate staff members suggest that the family members need to be prepared for a wide range of emotions. In “The Execution House,” a Pennsylvania Department of Corrections staff member shows the viewer the prison and execution facilities and where victims’ family members will be at the execution. In “What Victim Advocates Need to Know” and “How do Advocates Help?,” victims assistance staff members discuss that while it may not be easy or practical for staff members to accompany family members in the viewing of the execution, they should remain available to answer questions and listen to family members. In “Execution Day” and “The Search for Closure,” family members recount witnessing the execution of the murderers of their family members, often feeling that the executions were too peaceful, and share the ways that they are seeking final resolution and closure. In the last segment, “Memories,” family members show photographs and tell stories in remembrance of their lost loved ones.