Source: (2003) Corrections Today Magazine. 65(5): 84-85, to 89
There is now a renewed focus on victims of crime within the criminal justice system. However, not all corrections professionals privilege crime victims as a integral part of the justice process. This article discusses the importance of recognizing crime victims as a part of the process. First, it outlines the rationale for a victim-centered approach to justice and to offender re-entry into the community. The main point is that if the goal of the justice system is to make offenders accountable for their crimes, what better way to do this than to make offenders accountable directly to their victims? The second section discusses the rights and needs of victims in terms of fairness and respect, participation and input, safety and responsible protection, notification and information, and restitution. Particular victim rights vary by State, but almost all States have made certain victim rights legally mandatory. The last section, states that in order to succeed at holding offenders accountable for their crimes, corrections professionals should lead the effort toward educating offenders about the harm caused by their actions. Enforcing victim rights is an important part of this process and an integral part of the concept of justice. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference service, www.ncjrs.org.
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