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January 9, 2012

Notable paper urging a different model for victim involvement in criminal justice system

Via this post at Right on Crime, I came across this interesting new paper from the Partnership for Safety and Justice about victim involvement in the criminal justice system titled "Moving Beyond Sides: The Power and Potential of a New Public Safety Policy Paradigm."   Here is a paragraph describing the goals of the paper and another from the introduction revealing its key themes:

This paper is designed to foster critical dialogue and actual movement toward more proactive and thoughtful collaboration between crime survivor advocates and criminal justice reform advocates who have a shared stake in creating a system focused on long-term, evidence-based policies best equipped to create safe and healthy communities....

When examining the propagation of tough on crime policies, particularly at the state level, certain crime victim advocates have played a powerful role.  These victim organizations and activists have created the emotional impetus for the passage of tough on crime policies.  Both intentionally and unintentionally, these high-profile “victim advocates” have become the de facto representatives of the victims’ perspective among the media and policymakers, while the authority and scope of their perspectives remain largely unchallenged.  What usually goes unnoticed in criminal justice policy debates is the absence of the diversity of victims’ perspectives.  The communities most impacted by crime and violence — low-income communities, communities of color, and women — are rarely taken into consideration by these high-profile victim advocates who are primarily coming from a white, male, and middle-class perspective. It is not unusual that the people with privilege and the most access to the system have an easier time getting the system to respond when personally affected; but the most dominant voices among victim advocates don’t reflect the full spectrum of victim experiences and perspectives and are advancing a narrow policy agenda that has actually damaged some communities.

January 9, 2012 at 12:20 AM | Permalink


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Translation: "Dr. Petit, since you are a white male, your views are necessarily bigoted, so kindly shut up."

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 9, 2012 1:47:11 AM

The article is filled with generalities that will change nothing about crime. Because the lawyer rigged system is not designed to end crime but to provide lawyer jobs, bypass it. The proposals in the article will eventually require the hiring of more lawyers.

All law abiding citizens get weapons training in high school. If you see a violent crime in a the street or in a home, you have a duty to kill the criminal. If you fail to attempt to kill the criminal, you are fined $50. If you have several fines, you are required to attend crime victim camp for a refresher course. Victim self help is the unifying feature of all low crime nations and jurisdictions, including poor Islamic states, with low crime rates measured by UN sponsored victim survey.

The government can help itself by getting rid of laws that bring opprobrium, that do not make a difference, or that have painful unintended consequences. Desuetude is allowed only in West Virginia. It should e a condition of receiving federal crime aid to enact it in the others. The emission of false notice is as harmful as the failure to give notice in violation of a procedural due process right. As construction proposals require an environmental impact statement, so should each law have law giving impact statement.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 9, 2012 5:40:15 AM

Bill needs to "translate" what was said into a straw man so he need not confront the actual argument. Typical.

Beyond issues of race and class, the whole "victim rights" terminology is quite limited, imposing a falsely facile framework that ignores the most complicated questions. E.g., I seldom see anyone discuss the significant crossover between "victims" and "criminals." Often the victim of spousal abuse tonight may be tomorrow's drunk driver, shoplifter, etc.. Today's robbery victim may tomorrow start a bar fight. Victimization sometimes creates its own negative response that mimics in some ways what was done to the person - e.g., sexually abused kids growing up to be abusers. These aren't cut and dried categories and the self-identified victim groups do indeed typically come from a relatively narrow and non-representative subset of crime victims, which is all this abstract claimed.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Jan 9, 2012 8:01:13 AM

This paper proceeds from a false premise that the system is "broken" (see Intro). With all the problems our nation faces, the criminal justice system is one of the few bright spots. Crime is dropping down to rates we have not seen in four decades. The murder rate alone has been cut in half over the last twenty years as readers of this blog know. The rest of the paper may have valid pionts, but I just could not let this casual and often made mis-statement go unanswered.

Posted by: Dennis Skayhan | Jan 9, 2012 2:50:21 PM

The authors want to make the point that "tough on crime" victims' groups are male-dominated, so they focus on Marc Klaas, Mark Lunsford, and Crime Victims United of Oregon, describing the latter as "mostly the work of one man whose daughter was murdered by a juvenile in a terrible and senseless crime."

For some reason, they don't mention Crime Victims United of California, the Crime Victims' Action Alliance, Citizens Against Homicide, Families of Murder Victims, Justice for All, or the National Organization of Victims of Juvenile Lifers. When facts don't fit your thesis, just ignore them.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Jan 9, 2012 5:00:37 PM

Grits --

"Bill needs to 'translate' what was said into a straw man so he need not confront the actual argument. Typical."

I translate what was said so that what the authors intentionally sweep under the rug will be brought to light. I have no doubt you dislike this. Too bad.

As for avoiding confronting arguments, I confronted them hundreds of times in court where it counts. You, by contrast, have not done so one single time, being unqualified for the task by education, experience and temperament. Instead, you're content to sit on your backside and "confront" arguments on your blog. You're one "tuff" dude, Grits -- or at least you take yourself to be.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 9, 2012 6:57:46 PM

Res Ipsa Loquitur -the facts speak for themselves!

Posted by: Cicero Ril | Jul 22, 2012 1:26:58 PM

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