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Law and Contemporary Problems

2009

Victims of crimes

Articles 1 - 5 of 5

Full-Text Articles in Law

Using Criminal Punishment To Serve Both Victim And Social Needs, Erin Ann O'Hara, Maria Mayo Robbins Apr 2009

Using Criminal Punishment To Serve Both Victim And Social Needs, Erin Ann O'Hara, Maria Mayo Robbins

Law and Contemporary Problems

In recent decades, the criminal-justice pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme. Criminal law is often described as covering disputes between the offender and the state. Victims are not direct parties to criminal proceedings, they have no formal right to either initiate or terminate a criminal action, and they have no control over the punishment meted out to offenders. In this state-centric system, victim needs have been left unsatisfied, giving rise to a politically powerful victims' rights movement that has had success in giving victims rights of access to prosecutors and rights to be heard in the courtroom. Here, O ...


The Unforgiving: Reflections On The Resistance To Forgiveness After Atrocity, Thomas Brudholm, Valérie Rosoux Apr 2009

The Unforgiving: Reflections On The Resistance To Forgiveness After Atrocity, Thomas Brudholm, Valérie Rosoux

Law and Contemporary Problems

Brudholm and Rosoux question the ethics of having religious and political leaders call on individual victims to forgive wrongdoing as an aid to group-conflict resolution. Even though a group might strongly desire political stability and peace, these goals should not be obtained at the expense of the needs of the victim. They argue that even when the group strongly desires reconciliation, reconciliation does not necessarily require forgiveness. They also consider several actual examples of resistance with particular concentration on the reflections of two genocide survivors, namely Jean Amery and Esther Mujawayo.


Victims, “Closure,” And The Sociology Of Emotion, Susan A. Bandes Apr 2009

Victims, “Closure,” And The Sociology Of Emotion, Susan A. Bandes

Law and Contemporary Problems

Bandes discusses the polarizing function of victim impact statements used in the context of the death penalty. The use of victim impact statements is justified in order to promote closure for the victim, but it's unclear what psychological closure can be accomplished from the formal litigation process. Even if victim impact statements do help their authors, in the context of the death penalty the authors are family members of the victim, not the direct victim, and Bandes questions whether it's important to further their interests at the expense of the interests of the defendant. The only recourse for ...


Comment On Using Criminal Punishment To Serve Both Victim And Social Needs, John O. Haley Apr 2009

Comment On Using Criminal Punishment To Serve Both Victim And Social Needs, John O. Haley

Law and Contemporary Problems

Haley comments on the argument underlying the article by Erin Ann O'Hara and Maria Mayo Robbins, which emphasizes on victim-offender mediation (VOM). By expanding the frame of reference, restorative justice can be defined as a paradigm whose scope encompasses more than VOM and whose emphasis includes the needs of society and offenders as well as victims. Restorative justice involves a wide variety of processes and programs that are more apt to restore both those who commit and those who suffer wrongs. It includes children at risk programs, drug courts, violence-treatment programs, as well as VOM programs. It also includes ...


A Reflection And Response To Using Criminal Punishment To Serve Both Victim And Social Needs, Kenneth R. Downes Apr 2009

A Reflection And Response To Using Criminal Punishment To Serve Both Victim And Social Needs, Kenneth R. Downes

Law and Contemporary Problems

Downes comments on Erin Ann O'Hara and Maria Mayo Robbins' article that accurately describes the nuanced and complex nature of apology and forgiveness. These are not actions that can be programmed--they happen at their own pace and in paths that are winding and unchartable. One of the reasons that victim-offender mediation is unpopular with some is that it can be emotionally messy and slow. Thus, one of the most helpful insights in his work has been that forgiveness is developmental, meaning that it often happens in normal and predictable stages. Forgiveness can be divided into manageable pieces. Indeed, their ...