Victim Rights Case Study

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Historically, victims did not to have the level of involvement within the criminal justice system that they do today. The victims' rights movement came to fruition due to the influence of various social movements that flourished during the 1960s, including the women's movement, the children's rights movement, and the civil rights movement. Since the 1970s, the victims' rights movement has worked to give victims a bigger role within the criminal justice process. The reformation of law in regards to the rights of victims has, among other things, allowed victims to submit victim impact statements during an offender's sentencing detailing the effects the crime has had on them. All federal criminal trials are mandated to include the use of victim impact statements since the passage of the Victim Witness Protection Act of 1982 (Morgan & Smith, 2005). Another instance in which a victim can participate is during parole board hearings, where they can influence the decision of the board on whether to grant early release to a prison inmate. Both experiences allow for a victim to contribute to the criminal justice process and to occasionally feel as if they have found closure, especially when they are able to directly address their offender in court and recount their experiences. However, there are arguments on both sides of the fence…show more content…
The rules regarding victim participation in a court room is one of these factors. Some of these rules include "who is allowed to speak, how many participants are able to address the court, how these regulations are negotiated, where victims and offenders are positioned in court, who victims face, and who victims direct their statements to" (Englebrecht, 2012). While these may seem like arbitrary factors to be concerned about during a case, each one contributes to the effect that a victim impact statement will have on a

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