1999 Texas Attorney General Reports and Opinions 1 (1999)

handle is hein.sag/sagtx0074 and id is 1 raw text is: Oe OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL - STATE OF TEXAS
JOHN CORNYN
August 5, 1999
Mr. Wayne Scott                          Open Records Decision No. 659
Executive Director
Texas Department of Criminal Justice     Re: Whether communications made in
P.O. Box 13084                           a victim-offender mediation session are
Austin, Texas 78711                      confidential under section 154.073 of the
Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
(ORQ-29)
Dear Mr. Scott:
On behalf of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (the department), you ask whether
communications made in a victim-offender mediation session are confidential under section
154.073 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code in conjunction with the Public Information
Act's section 552.101 of the Government Code. These communications include records of
the victim-offender mediation such as the Affirmation Agreement and the videotape of the
mediation.
The department's Victim Services Division provides and administers the victim-offender
mediation program. The purpose of the victim-offender mediation is to provide victims of
. . . crime the opportunity to have a structured face-to-face meeting with their offender(s) in
a secure, safe environment, in order to facilitate a healing, reconstruction/recovery process.
Likewise, the victim-offender mediation provides an offender with the opportunity to realize
the human impact of the crime upon the victim.
The mediation is initiated by the department at the request of a victim. Participation in the
mediation is voluntary, and either the victim or offender may withdraw from participation
at any time in the process. In addition, the mediator has discretion to terminate the mediation
if he feels the process is no longer beneficial to either party. Before the victim and offender
actually meet, each must be screened to ensure that mediation is appropriate for the particular
parties involved, and each party must go through an initial orientation phase that prepares
them for the face-to-face mediation session. In order to participate, the offender must admit
guilt and take responsibility for the crime that is the subject of the mediation. The

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