SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Department of Justice is honoring a longtime victims rights lawyer in Utah.

The department’s Office for Victims of Crime announced Monday it has awarded University of Utah law professor Paul Cassell the Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award.

Cassell, a former federal judge, “has had a monumental impact on the victims’ rights field,” said Katherine Sullivan, principal deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Justice Programs.

“His decades-long passion for the just and equal treatment of crime victims has touched countless lives,” Sullivan said in a statement.

Cassell played a key role in bringing about Utah’s 1994 Victim’s Rights Amendment and later a similar addition to the U.S. Constitution, according to the Justice Department. He also has argued pro bono cases tied to victim rights before the U.S. Supreme Court, and in Utah and Arizona’s state supreme courts.

“We gratefully recognize Professor Cassell’s lifelong work, which has yielded enduring protections for thousands of victims in the criminal justice process,” said Office for Victims of Crime Director Jessica Hart. “His tireless efforts have truly made a world of difference.”