Term Paper: Victimology and Alternatives

Pages: 5 (1487 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice  ·  Buy This Paper

Victimology and Alternatives

The objective of this work is to examine whether the use of shaming, peacemaking and restorative justice offer useful alternatives to our traditional criminal justice system, particularly from the point-of-view of the victims. This work will seek to understand the difficulties with the use of these methods and what might render these methods into workable solutions, and finally, what specific changes in the present criminal justice system would be necessary.

The work of Mary P. Koss entitled: "Blame, Shame, and Community: Justice Responses to Violence Against Women" states that traditional retributive justice "...aims for punishment of the guilty, whereas restorative justice is a new paradigm seeking victim-oriented criminal justice. Justice is adversarial when two sides of the case square off to uncover truth and affix responsibility by examining evidence through the questioning of witnesses." (2000) This is only one example of restorative justice as this type of alternative justice program is being explored and utilized throughout the court system however, this method of punishment is still fairly new in the criminal justice system.

I. COMMUNITY and RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

The work of Paul McCold entitled: "Restorative Justice: The Role of the Community" relates that presently, the United States: "...seems gripped in an addiction to a powerful drug, one more destructive than all illegal drugs combined. This drug is vengeance. When we feel the pain and fear caused by crime, we demand ever greater punishment for offenders, as if this will bring relief." (McCold, 1995) McCold relates that while the 'get-tough' rhetoric's 1995) There is no existing empirical evidence of a credible nature that any type of punishment actually results in a reduction in crime. McCold informs this study that restorative justice is a practice "that contains the seeds for solving a new problem - the inadequacy of the criminal justice system itself., as it lurches from crisis to crisis, based as it is on an outdated philosophy of naked revenge." (McCold, 1995)

II. The VICTIM and RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

McCold addresses the needs of crime victims, which are stated to be various and "created by the harms they suffer in the crime." (1995) Restorative justice requires that the perpetrators of the crime being held "accountable" for the crime which they committed. McCold states that real accountability "includes taking responsibility for the results of one's behavior. Restorative justice programs have been limited until recently to: (1) Victim restitution programs; (2) Offender accountability and victim awareness programs; and (3) victim-offender reconciliation programs. It is suggested in the work of Karmen (1990) and reported by McCold that restorative schemata should include at least "four distinct groups with divergent goals and clashing philosophies including: (1) a punishment oriented toward the offender; (2) a treatment mechanism for the rehabilitation of the offender; and (3) a way to help victims; and (4) a vehicle for reconciliation of relationships. (1995)it is related by McCold (1995) that a useful framework in restorative justice was proposed by Reverend Virginia Mackey (1990, p.42) in which the victim, offender and community have defined roles according to the injury suffered along with the needs and responsibilities in the conflict. This framework is illustrated in the following figure.

Framework Proposed by Mackey (1990)

Injury

Need

Responsibility

Victim

Offender

Community

Society

Source: McCold (1995)

Restorative justice is an attempt to meets the needs "of the victim, offender and community." (McCold, 1995)

The work of Kauzlarich, Matthews, and Miller (2001) entitled: "Toward a Victimology of State Crime" published in the Journal of Critical Criminology states that there are various definitions of what constitutes a victim "and hence what is victimology..." however it is stated that included are individuals or groups who: (1)have not given informed consent; (2) are incapable of making a reasonable judgment; and (3) are forced or delivered into participation in a situation that results in adverse consequences to them.

The work Sherman and Strang (2007) entitled: "Restorative Justice: The Evidence" relates a study with the goal of testing two claims which are made quite often concerning processes of restorative justice: (1) Restorative justice provides more procedural fairness for both victims and offenders and is more humane and respectful in responding to a crime than the criminal justice system; and (2) Restorative justice provides more effective outcomes such as lower recidivism, more repair of harm, fewer crimes of revenge, and more offences brought to justice." (Sherman and Strang, 2007) Sherman and Strang utilized various databases were used for identification of existing research on restorative justice.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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