Traditionally, parole, probation and prison practices have been offender-focused and have inactively responded to or ignored the concerns of crime victims. Despite the fact that offender supervision approaches are intended at protecting the public as a whole from further victimization, the interest of individual victims are often nowhere to be found beneath the growing caseloads of offenders and accumulation of paperwork.
It is a well-established rule that the most important objective for achieving justice are through the provision of examinations and regulation to offenders; yet parole, probation and prison agencies can as well present valuable services to crime victims. To neutralize some unconstructive views of parole, probation and prison, the criminal justice system are now taking a hands-on approach to informing, involving, and educating victims of the undertakings of the aforesaid elements of justice system. Influence of Each Elements Have on Victims Probation
Probation agencies are in an exceptional position to offer services to crime victims. The said agencies have access to both offender-specific and general information that could attend to the victim’s need for concerns and information. The said agencies are capable of offering information that would lead victims to take part in restorative justice. A crime victim would profit from figuring out how probation works by understanding the fact that offenders will be held responsible for their actions either through several supervisory conditions or payment of restitution, in addition to being aware with an offender’s custody status (U.
S. Department of Justice, 1999, p. 7). Victim-offender intervention programs may be a useful restorative means in individual cases. Participation in mediation programs may facilitate both the offender and the victim in understanding things regarding each other that are capable of changing their assumptions and perspectives. The aforesaid actions verify the suffering victims have undergone, thus greatly contribute to the healing process. Prison
Prisons range from open prisons with minimum security to high-security closed institutions, and the profile of the prisoners will depend on whether a prisoner is held in a low or high security prison (Citizens Information, 2008). Factors such as the length of sentence, type of offence, degree of risk, and many others are taken into consideration. If a prisoner poses a threat or is believed to be dangerous to the victim, the former will be placed in one of the protected closed prisons.
Nevertheless, victims are allowed to produce their impact statements during the inmate classification procedures. In deciding whether or not to sanction provisional release to a prisoner, correctional agencies will take into consideration the possible danger or risk to the victim and to the public (Citizens Information, 2008). Consequently, when the prisoners violate the temporary released provisions, victims are and should be informed in a timely manner. By doing the aforesaid procedures, victims will feel justice at work, feel protected and vigilant if worse things happen.
Parole A number of parole officers in the United States have acknowledged the extraordinary needs of crime victims and have developed services and programs intended to empower them as well as to guarantee their safety. Making victims aware of the importance of their participation and presence in parole hearings is indispensable. Victims’ assertions during parole hearing are significant in the latter’s regaining of sense of control subsequent to victimization, and in their healing, as well as in rewarding their needs associated to equal participation in the criminal justice system.
Further, in setting the conditions for parole or community release, victim’s security should be considered as an essential determinant (Karmen, 2007). The moment the conditions of parole are laid down and a pronouncement for parole is approved, the parole officer supervising the inmate has to be conscientious in the community management of the latter, attentive of victim concerns, and prepared to utilize the power of parole revocation when the parolee’s activities deserves some action or becomes questionable. The importance of Each Element on the Victims and Possible Re-Victimization
Probation Not every victim are aware of the fact that they can have a greater influence on the punishment given a defendant by offering their input weeks before sentencing to the probation officer assigned to carry out the pre-sentencing report (Women’s Justice Center, n. d). If misdemeanor adjudged against a defendant and on more frequent situations, when the defendant is found guilty of a felony, a probation officer is designated to prepare what is described as pre-sentencing report for the judge in the intervening period before the sentencing date.
This point in time is where the victim can often considerably influence the punishment. Most of the time, judges conform to the sentencing commendation that is prepared by the pre-sentencing probation officer. Therefore, if the victim wants to have definite impact and input on sentencing, it is significant that he or she is aware that the most excellent manner to do that is to make an engagement with the pre-sentencing probation officer the moment that officer is delegated to the case. Accordingly, if a long-term prison sentence is granted, it will evidently impede the probability of the inmate to re-victimize.
Prison The three major purpose of prison are incapacitation, retribution and deterrence (University of Oxford, 2007). Imprisonment is the ultimate embodiment of justice among crime victims. Imprisoning criminals make victims feel better as it is capable of satisfying the victim’s desires for retribution. In addition, fear of prison discourages numerous potential criminals from perpetrating crimes. Prison also wards off imprisoned criminals from attacking individuals who are liberally living in the society.
Criminologists established strong effects verifying that reducing the rates of violent crime is persuasively linked to intensifying prison population of violent or serious offenders. Accordingly, rates of violent crime in the United States have fallen 38 percent between 1991 and 2007 (Mauser, 2008). During the same period, decrease is also evident in homicide rates as it plunged to 43 percent (Mauser, 2008). Without a doubt, increasing the number of incarcerated serious offenders operates to reduce the rates of violent crime and consequently re-victimization. Parole
A victim or any representative of the immediate family of the victim if the latter died may appear at the hearing of parole release consideration carried out at the institution in which the prisoner is detained and offer a statement. Findings of current study signify that victim influence is a very much foretelling factor in the pronouncement to deny or grant parole (Morgan & Smith, 2005). It is comprehensible that victim participation manipulates the parole board’s decisions at the parole release hearings; and as a result, if parole is not granted, re-victimization of the inmate would be unlikely.
Conclusion Crime victims are worthy of services and rights throughout their participation in the criminal justice system. To accomplish this objective, the three elements of the system need to develop a wide-ranging structure of services that are victim-centered. A few of the more familiar victim services of criminal justice system consist of: (1) evaluation of victim impact; (2) victim notification; (3) restitution collection; (4) referrals to services; (5) victim protection; and (6) education regarding parole, probation and prison.
As public agencies and a key element of the criminal justice system, every parole, probation, and prison agencies should focus themselves with justice for every citizens. Although the foremost means for achieving this justice may be through the provision of services and supervision to criminals, it does not have to be at the elimination of helping others affected by crime.
Canadian Centre for Policy Studies. (2008, September 18). Youth Crime is at Historically High Levels. Retrieved November 18, 2008, from http://policystudies.ca/index. php? option=com_content&task=view&id=192&Itemid=27 Citizens Information. (2008, August 22). Victims of Crime and the Prisons. Retrieved November 19, 2008, from http://www. citizensinformation. ie/categories/justice/victims-of-crime/victims_and_the_prisons Karmen, A. (2007). Crime victims: An introduction to victimology. 6th Edition. Belmont, CA: Thomson-Wadsworth. Morgan, K. , & Smith, B. L. (2005). Victims, Punishment, and Parole: The Effects of Victim Participation on Parole Hearings. UK: Blackwell Publishing.
U. S. Department of Justice. (1999, July). Promising Victim-Related Practices and Strategies in Probation and Parole. Retrieved November 18, 2008, from http://www. nicic. org/Library/015779 University of Oxford. (2007, August 25). Bias Against Torture. Retrieved November 18, 2008, from http://www. overcomingbias. com/2007/08/bias-against-to. html Women’s Justice Center. (n. d. ). Victim Impact Statements and Pre-Sentencing Probation Reports. Retrieved November 18, 2008, from http://www. justicewomen. com/handbook/part