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Punishment

2009

Law and Contemporary Problems

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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'Hara …