Victimology and Alternatives to Traditional Criminal Justice System

The debate on whether or not other alternatives punishments to traditional criminal justice procedures are effective tools for increasing crime deterrence remains a controversial one in the public domain. Proponents of this option claim of its potential impact in promoting rehabilitation on the victims. Still, they find this as a more humane way of making individuals appreciate of their mistakes as well as enabling their acceptance in the community (Killam, 1996).

However, opponents of the idea claim that it negates the individual right to privacy as can be evident from the shaming alternative. In addition, the practices have been blamed of potentially promoting stigmatization of crime offenders in the community. Despite these negative claims, using shaming, peacemaking strategies, or restorative justice are useful alternatives to the traditional criminal justice system, from victims’ point of view. The author of this essay seeks to identify and discuss the potential benefits brought by using alternatives to traditional criminal justice system.

A discussion on the imminent difficulties facing the success of this alternatives and how they can be overcome to strengthen their effectiveness is also given. The process of ensuring sustainable security in the community has called for integration of numerous approaches in the criminal justice system. It is due to this reason that various forms of encouraging reforms among crime offenders in the community have been adopted by our criminal justice system over time. These include but not limited to probation, rehabilitation, and imprisonment.

According to available statistical evidence, recidivism into criminal behaviors after release from prisons remains one major concern on the effectiveness of using these correctional facilities to promote behavioral change among criminals (Siegel, 2008). In addition, it has been established that most victims of criminal justice system find high levels of social stigmatization in the community. This is because the society perceives them as dangerous and potential bad influence to the community (Moore, 1993).

Indeed, these are cited as the main reason behind the high levels of recidivism into criminal activities in the quest for company and earning a livelihood. Nevertheless, this problem can be easily solved through employing restorative justice that serves the crucial role of promoting acceptance of crime offenders in the society. On the other hand, peacemaking strategies are an instrumental tool in mitigating crime in the community (Killam, 1996). True from available literature, revenge mentality remains the main source of serious felony crimes in the community.

This has the implication that citizens are still in doubt of the ability of the criminal justice system to provide equitable justice to all. This can be evident from the fact that the question of discrimination in our justice system still remains an issue of contention in the public domain. Further, racial enmity and social discrimination have been blamed for the problem of criminal activities in the community. According to sociological analysts, this problem has been closely attributed to the historical injustice perpetuated against some minority groups in the nation.

This is evidenced by the longstanding violence attitude between the whites and the African American community dating back to the slavery era. Based on the above reasons, it is quite clear that failure by the society to engage its resources in reconciliation and forgiveness practices could only serve to oversee the persistence of racial-based crime in the community (Siegel, 2008). Thus peacemaking strategies are no doubt a viable alternative to traditional criminal justice system practices in the war against crime.

Network-based entry of those involved in activities such as rape has received much influence in mitigating such crimes in states, which have implemented them (Ahmed, 2001). This is because the system ensures that the community remains informed of the perpetuators of the crime. Such have the implication that members of the local community will effectively act as watchdogs in overseeing that this crime offenders do not get the opportunity to engage in similar activities (Scheff, & Retziger, 2000). Moreover, the psychological punishment that comes with publicity of criminals to the public is enough to force behavioral change in the victim.

Still, shaming has been identified as capable of aiding in the prevention of criminal activities, particularly drug manufacturing and trafficking (Moore, 1993). According to facts by medical professionals, drugs such as methamphetamine have long-term health implications to the surrounding community even after their production has been grounded. On the other hand, numerous research findings have found that such drugs are being manufactured at home by criminals. This has the implication that the neighbors are faced with health risks as well as potential abuse of drugs by their children their availability factors.

Nevertheless, shaming could resolve this problem by promoting public awareness on neighborhoods that are engaged in drugs dealings. However, alternatives to traditional criminal justice system are marked with numerous legal, social, and economic challenges. Alternative practices such as shaming have been blamed for being a contradiction to the criminal’s constitutional right to privacy (Book, 1999). This is due to the fact that it serves to expose an individual’s private life to access by the public.

This has nevertheless been negated by the fact that the government has a legal authority to ensure law and order while observing freedom rights, an element that puts significant limitations to our constitutional right to privacy. Another limitation is the question of using alternatives and the problem of social stigmatization of crime offenders in the community (Scheff, & Retziger, 2000). A threat remains a threat until confirmed otherwise by substantial evidence. This claim has witnessed continued perception of crime offenders as security threat in the society even after they have been rehabilitated.

Indeed, such are to be blamed for the high rates of relapse into criminal activities after release from prison. However, such are only due to lack of adequate public education to ensure that crime offenders are accepted in the community after correction as a way of encouraging their sustainable social and economic reestablishment. The last challenge on alternatives to traditional criminal justice system has been attributed to the highs costs and the problem of prejudice (Siegel, 2008). It is no doubt that peacemaking strategies and restorative programs are quite involving both in time and money.

However, the cost of maintaining constant crime offenders in prisons is far much higher compared to these alternatives based on long-term cumulative analysis. Further, such practices serve to ensure sustainable security unlike punishment which has evident high crime recurrence rate in the society. In conclusion, there is much need for the government and other stakeholder to engage more resource in identifying and exploring the long-term security benefits brought by alternatives such shaming, peacemaking strategies, or restorative justice compared to traditional criminal justice system.

This will not only promote community-law enforcement cooperation in the war against crime, but also healing historical racial enmity that has been the main source of violence in the community. ?


Ahmed, E. (2001). Shame Management through Reintegration. New York: Cambridge University Press. Book, A. (1999). Shame on You: An Analysis of Modern Shame Punishment as an Alternative to Incarceration. William and Mary Law Review, 40, 12-21. Killam, D. (1996). Restorative Justice and a Better Future.

Retrieved August 22, 2010, from http://www. iirp. org/article_detail. php? article_id=NDk4 Moore, D. (1993). Shame, Forgiveness, and Juvenile Justice. Retrieved August 22, 2010, from http://www. lib. jjay. cuny. edu/cje/html/sample2. html Scheff, T. , & Retziger, S. (2000). Shame and Shaming in Restorative Justice. Retrieved August 22, 2010, from http://www. critcrim. org/redfeather/journal-pomocrim/vol-8-shaming/scheff. html Siegel, L. (2008). Criminology. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.