Crime Victims: An Introduction to Victimology Chapter Thirteen: Victims in the Twenty-First

Crime Victims: An Introduction to
Sixth Edition
By Andrew Karmen
Chapter Thirteen:
Victims in the Twenty-First
Century: Alternative Directions
Toward Greater Formal Legal Rights
Within the CJ System
 Victim Rights Flow From
– Policies from innovative CJ system officials
– Case law
– Laws passed by city, county and state
– Sixth Amendment vs. Seventh Amendment
approach for victims
– National Crime Victim’s Rights Act (CVRA)
 Alternative to 6th Amendment revision
Victim Rights Categories
 Zero-Sum Game Model
– Rights gained at the expense of:
 1. criminals
 2. criminal justice system
 3. either offenders or officials
Toward Greater Formal Legal Rights
Within the CJ System
 1. Rights Gained at the Expense of
– Theory is that victim rights should be at the
expense of offenders rights
– Need to shift balance of power away from
offenders towards victims
– See Table 13.1, page 345
Toward Greater Formal Legal Rights
Within the CJ System
 2. Victim Rights Gained at the Expense of
the Criminal Justice System
Theory based on the fact that the social
system is partly at fault for crime in America
– State should be obligated to minimize suffering
of victims
– Victims should be made whole again even if
offender not captured
– See Table 13.2, page 347
Toward Greater Formal Legal Rights
Within the CJ System
 3. Rights Gained at the Expense of Either
Offenders, the System, or Both
 Victim Participation in:
– Bail Setting Arrangements
– Plea Negotiations
– Sentencing Hearing Decisions—Allocution
– Parole Board Appearances
Toward Greater Formal Legal Rights
Within the CJ System
 Issues:
– Do these formal rights apply to individuals who do not fit
profile of innocent victims?
– No consequences for non-compliance with
aforementioned victim rights
– Many countries and colonial America allowed for the
victims to hire their own attorney to prosecute
– Processes result in “differential handling or differential
access to justice”
– Provide advocates for victims—ex. guardian ad litem
Toward Greater Formal Legal Rights
Within the CJ System
 Findings of policy decision impacts:
– No substantial changes in outcomes resulting
from implementation of victim rights
– “Insiders” resist interference by outsiders
– No constitutional standing for victims, which
prevents them from suing for damages for the
rights being ignored or violated by CJ system
– Changes mere “lip service, paper promises,
cosmetic changes without much substance”
Towards Retaliatory Justice
 Vigilantism versus Legitimate Use of Force
– 1. Threat posed by aggressor—imminent
– 2. If Offender retreating—no longer a threat, so
deadly force not justified
– 3. Victim belief of harm reasonable
– 4. Degree of force proportionate to threat
– 5. Timing of victim’s action appropriate
Towards Retaliatory Justice
Do It Yourself Approach
Back Alley Justice
Curbstone Justice
Street Justice
Frontier Justice—Lynching
 VIGILANTISM—often arises as a response
to victimization
Towards Retaliatory Justice
 Vigilantism vs. Legitimate Use of Force in
 Four rationales shaping self defense
– Punitive rationale
– Rationale of necessity
– Individualist rationale
– Social rationale
Towards Retaliatory Justice
 Would Victims be better off if armed?
 1990s—31 states passed concealed handgun
laws—no felons or mentally ill
Potential presence deters criminals
Notice of weapon abort crime from occurring
Allow victim to thwart criminal intentions
Could capture and hold offender for police
Increase victim’s odds of survival in a life or death
Many believe this is why crime decreased in 90s
Towards Retaliatory Justice
 Table 13.3, page 357— Justifiable Homicides by
Crime Victims and Police, 1988-2004
 Retaliation appeals to many Americans
 1990 survey showed 1/4-1/3 approved, while 61%
said NO
 Criminals can be vigilantes also
– Gang Shootings, Mafia Hit Men
– Klu Klux Klan and Neo Nazi claim goal is to rid society
of “undesirables”
Towards Retaliatory Justice
 Gun Control Advocates Claim:
– Provides false sense of security
– Homicides in homes—77% by spouse/family
– Highest risk of being shot and killed in homes is
with homes of one or more handguns
– 1997 study—Guns used in 17,500 suicides
(60%) versus 13,500 homicides (67%)
– Greatest threat comes from within the home
– Risk outweighs the advantages
Towards Retaliatory Justice
 Transforming victims into offenders and
offenders into victims is not the solution
to the crime problem. There are too
many offenders already. We don’t need
victims to become offenders through
retaliatory violence!
Toward Restorative Justice
 Restorative Justice—Draws upon non-punitive
methods of peacemaking, mediation, negotiation,
dispute resolution, conflict management and
constructive engagement. Embraces themes of
victim rights movement.
 Retributive Justice—State centered, offender
focused, punishment oriented rather than injury
centered and victim focused.
Toward Restorative Justice
 Peacemaking Circles—North American tribal
culture developed a consensus about how to
restore harmony to afflicted individuals—
participation by system representatives,
neighbors, community groups, religious groups
 Family Group Counseling—Maori, New Zealand
culture where offenders describes ordeal to
relatives, friends, and neighbors and victim
explains impact of crime upon him
 Group determines the appropriate sanctions in
both of these methodologies
Toward Restorative Justice
 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
– Mediation—direct negotiations between
– Conciliation—go-between facilitates flow of
information between disputants
– Arbitration—neutral fact finder called in to break
deadlocks and imposes a fair, final, and legally
binding decision
Restorative Justice
 History of resolving conflict
– Multi-door courthouses
– Neighborhood justice centers
– Moot Model of Informal Justice
 Guilt/innocence; right/wrong; Non-issues
 Goal was to reconcile parties
 Repair neighborhood rifts
– Philadelphia and Columbus use ADR (70s)
– 1980: Congress passed Dispute Resolution Act—2002
2002: U.N. recommends to member countries
Restorative Justice
 How Reconciliation Programs Work
– Restitution is symbolic gesture and pre-requisite
for reacceptance of community
– Provides basis for forgiveness
– Only community can provide reintegration
– Third party facilitates and oversees process
Table 13.4, page 367: Compare and Contrast
Retributive and Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice
 Pros and Cons from Victims Point of View
Way to resolve without making an arrest
Allows victims to ask questions about why, how, etc
Speedier and cheaper form of justice
Healing and redemption undermine justice and
– Does not protect accuser as state courts do
– Closed to the public
– Blameless victims may feel cheated if compromise
involved with offender
Restorative Justice
 Future:
– More cases will be referred to this process
– How will the system handle it—streamlining?
– Will process be compromised if overworked?
– Will this provide a framework for social change
that government has not provided?
– Cases involving violence do not fit
– Can restorative justice programs truly
rehabilitate serious offenders?
Key Terms
Victim’s Rights
Zero sum game model
Guardian ad litem
Differential handling
Restorative justice
Retaliatory justice
Vigilantism, lynching
Punitive rationale
Rationale of necessity
Individualist rationale
Social rationale
Peacemaking circles
Family group
arbitration, mediation
Multidoor courthouses
Neighborhood justice
Moot model
Conflict resolution
Widening the net