schm5e IM Ch14 by vef11fF0

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									                                 CHAPTER 14
                   THE VICTIM: HELPING THOSE IN NEED


Chapter Objectives

       1. Briefly summarize the history of America’s victims’ rights movement.
       2. Identify and describe important federal victims’ rights legislation.
       3. Understand why a victims’ rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution
          may be considered necessary.
       4. List and describe crime victims’ costs.
       5. Understand how corrections agencies participate in meeting victims’
          needs, and list victim services provided by correctional agencies.
       6. Explain how crime victim compensation programs work.
       7. List the three avenues available to victims to recover financial losses
          due to crime.
       8. Understand the nature of victim impact statements, and explain why
          they are useful.


Chapter Summary

I.   A Brief History of America’s Victims’ Rights Movement

       A. Victims were rarely recognized until the 1970s. They were usually
          forgotten once they filed the initial police report.

       B. Victims’ rights usually include:
             1. The right to information.
             2. The right to notification.
             3. The right to participate.
             4. The right to be reasonably protected.
             5. The right to receive restitution.

       C. Federal Legislation
            1. The government has passed a number of victims’ rights acts.
            2. The Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act of 1990 established a
                Bill of Rights for federal crime victims.
            3. Law enforcement officials must use their “best efforts” to ensure
                that victims receive basic rights and services.
            4. The following are the basic rights and services that officials
                must make efforts to provide for the victims:
                      a. Reasonable protection from the accused.
                      b. Notification of public court proceedings.
                      c. Presence at public court proceedings unless the court
                          specifies otherwise.


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                       d. Reasonably heard at any public proceeding involving
                          release, plea, or sentencing.
                       e. Conference with the prosecutor.
                       f. Full and timely restitution.
                       g. Proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
                       h. Fair and respectful treatment by authorities.

        D. The Proposal for a Federal Victims’ Rights Constitutional Amendment
             1. Although not yet implemented, there is a proposed amendment
                 that would provide specific constitutionally protected rights to
                 crime victims.

II.   The Costs and Consequences of Victimization

        A. Personal crimes result in costs of about $105 billion annually for
           medical expenses, lost earnings, and public victim assistance programs.

        B. Who Pays the Bills?
             1. Victims and their families pay the bill for some crimes, while the
                public largely pays the bill for others.
             2. Insurers pay $45 billion in crime-related claims annually.

        TIP: Are you willing to pay more insurance to help crime victims? What
        services should be provided to crime victims and who should have to pay?

III. The Role of Corrections

        A. Correctional agencies serve crime victims by protecting them from
           intimidation and harassment, notifying them of offender status,
           providing avenues for victim input into release decisions, and
           collecting restitution.

        B. Agencies are also beginning to recognize the important role that
           victims can play in helping them develop policies, procedures, and
           programs that consider victims as well as correctional staff and
           offenders.

        C. Victim Notification
              1. The importance of providing offender release information to
                  crime victims has long been recognized; however, no consistent
                  victim notification procedure has been developed.

        D. Victim and Witness Protection
              1. Every day in the United States, victims and witnesses are
                  harassed, intimidated, and retaliated against by incarcerated
                  offenders, through intimidating phone calls, mail, or threatened
                  visits from friends and associates.


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            2. Many correctional agencies have responded to this problem
               using some of the following methods:
                    a. Revoking inmates’ privileges.
                    b. Transferring inmates to more restrictive security levels.
                    c. Filing new criminal charges.
                    d. Enhancing the inmate’s sentence.
                    e. Revoking parole.

      E. Community Notification
           1. Most states have laws that provide for community notification of
              sexual offender releases or authorize the general public or
              certain individuals or organizations to access sexual offender
              registries.

      TIP: Debate the fairness of sex offender registries. Once an offender has
      served his or her prison time, are they being punished again by having to
      register?

      F. Crime Impact Classes
            1. The purpose of this type of program is to help offenders
               understand the devastating impact their crimes have on victims
               and their families and friends, on their communities, and on
               themselves and their own families.
            2. The programs also help the victims in healing emotional
               damage from the crime and allow them an opportunity to help
               others.

      G. Victim-Offender Dialogue
            1. Used predominantly in juvenile probation agencies.
            2. These programs give victims an opportunity to engage in a
                structured dialogue with their offenders.

      H. The Victimization of Correctional Staff
           1. Correctional staff experience a wide range of victimization,
               including verbal harassment by inmates, sexual harassment by
               inmates or colleagues, physical or sexual assaults, hostage
               situations, and murder.
           2. Correctional agencies have written policies and procedures to
               respond to staff victimization and critical incidents.

IV. Victim Compensation

      A. Three options for recovering crime-related financial losses:
           1. State-sponsored compensation programs.
           2. Court-ordered restitution.
           3. Civil remedies.



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B. President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime
      1. In 1982, the President’s Task Force recommended federal
         funding to help support state victim compensation programs.
      2. It pointed out problems with current programs, and since then
         victim compensation programs have improved dramatically.

C. Victims of Crime Act
      1. Passed in 1984 the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) established
         the Federal Office for Victims of Crime, which administers the
         Federal Crime Victims’ Fund, reimbursing states for up to 40%
         of victim compensation payments.

D. Recent Trends
     1. More victims are now aware of compensation programs
        available to assist them, and they are more likely to apply for
        financial assistance than in the past.

E. Eligibility Requirements
      1. Report the crime promptly.
      2. Cooperate with law enforcement agencies.
      3. Submit a timely application for compensation.
      4. Provide other information, as needed by the program.
      5. Note file claims for compensation that resulted from claimant
           criminal activity.

F. Major Benefit Categories
     1. Medical expenses.
     2. Mental health counseling.
     3. Lost wages.
     4. Funeral expenses.

G. Additional Benefit Categories
     1. Moving or relocation expenses.
     2. Transportation for medical services.
     3. Services, such as child care and/or housekeeping, which the
          victim cannot perform due to their injury.
     4. Essential lost or damaged personal possessions.
     5. Crime-scene cleanup.
     6. Rehabilitation.

H. Restitution
     1. Repayment for losses, damages, or expenses that result from a
          crime.
     2. Holds the offender liable for the victim’s financial losses.
     3. Poor record nationwide for ordering and collecting restitution
          from convicted offenders.



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              4. Some correctional agencies boost collections by offering
                 inmates incentives.
              5. Indigent offenders may be offered the option to perform
                 community service.

V.   The Office for Victims of Crime

       A. An invaluable support agency for state and territorial agencies, as well
          as for crime victims themselves.

VI. Victim Impact Statements

       A. Victim impact statements are assertions about the crime’s impact on
          the victim and the victim’s family.

       B. May be verbal or written and are now permitted at all sentencing
          hearings.

       C. Also permitted at many parole hearings.

VII. The Future of Victims’ Rights

       A. Five global challenges for responding to victims of crime in the 21 st
          century:
             1. Enact and enforce consistent, fundamental rights for crime
                 victims in the justice system.
             2. Provide crime victims with access to comprehensive, quality
                 services.
             3. Integrate crime victims’ issues into all levels of the nation’s
                 education system.
             4. Support, improve, and replicate promising practices in victims’
                 rights and services.
             5. Ensure that the voices of crime victims play a central role in the
                 nation’s response to violence and those victimized by crime.


Chapter Summary

1.     Victims were rarely recognized in the laws and policies that govern our
       nation until the 1970s. Since then, tremendous strides have been made in
       victims’ rights legislation and victim services.

2.     The 1980 enactment of Wisconsin’s Victims’ Bill of Rights, the nation’s first
       state bill of rights for crime victims, began an era of dramatic progress in
       the victims’ rights movement. Passage of the Federal Victim and Witness
       Protection Act (VWPA) of 1982 brought national visibility to crime victims’



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      concerns. In 1990, the Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act (Victims’ Rights
      Act) established a bill of rights for federal crime victims. The Violent Crime
      Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 established new rights for
      victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, child
      abuse, and telemarketing fraud. In 1996, the Community Notification Act,
      known as Megan’s Law, was enacted to ensure community notification of
      the locations of convicted sex offenders. In 1997, the Victims’ Rights
      Clarification Act of 1997 asserted victims’ rights to attend proceedings and
      deliver victim impact statements.

3.    Many believe that a victims’ rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution is
      needed to establish clear rights for crime victims and to protect those
      rights to the same degree that the rights of criminal suspects are already
      protected.

4.    The costs that crime victims suffer can be divided into two major
      categories: (1) tangible losses, including medical bills, lost property, and
      lost wages; and (2) intangible losses, such as lost quality of life, fear, pain,
      and suffering.

5.    Correctional agencies play an important role in meeting victims’ needs.
      Services provided by correctional agencies include (1) victim and
      community notification of offender release or change in status; (2) victim
      and witness protection services; (3) classes for offenders on the impact of
      crime; and (4) opportunities for victim-offender dialogue.

6.    Crime victim compensation programs pay for medical and mental health
      care, lost wages, funeral expenses, and crime-scene cleanup.

7.    The three options available to victims for recovering crime-related financial
      losses are compensation, restitution, and civil remedies.

8.    Victim impact statements are assertions by victims and/or friends or
      relatives of victims about the crime’s impact on the victim and the victim’s
      family. These statements are considered by judicial authorities in
      decisions regarding sentencing and parole.


Key Terms

VICTIM: Someone who suffers direct or threatened physical, emotional, or
financial harm as the result of the commission or attempted commission of a
crime or delinquent act. The term victim also includes the immediate family of a
minor or homicide victim, but does not include a person in custody for an offense,
or the accused.




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VICTIMS’ RIGHTS: The fundamental rights of victims to be represented
equitably throughout the criminal justice system.

BEST EFFORTS STANDARD: A requirement of the Federal Victims’ Rights and
Restitution Act of 1990 (also known as the Victims’ Rights Act), which mandates
that federal law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and corrections officials use
their best efforts to ensure that victims receive basic rights and services during
their encounter with the criminal justice system.

TANGIBLE LOSSES: Costs such as medical expenses, lost wages, and
property losses that affect crime victims as a result of their victimization.

INTANGIBLE LOSSES: Costs such as fear, pain, suffering, and reduced quality
of life that affect crime victims as a result of their victimization.

VICTIM NOTIFICATION: Notification to victims of the release or pending release
of convicted offenders who have harmed them.

COMMUNITY NOTIFICATION: Notification to the community of the release or
pending release of convicted offenders.

VICTIM COMPENSATION: A form of victim assistance in which state-funded
payments are made to victims to help them recover financial losses due to crime.

VICTIM ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: An organized program that offers services to
victims of crime in the areas of crisis intervention and follow-up counseling and
that helps victims secure their rights under the law.

RIGHT OF ALLOCUTION: A statutory provision permitting crime victims to
speak at the sentencing of convicted offenders. A federal right of allocution was
established for victims of federal violent and sex crimes under the Violent Crime
Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.


Homework Assignments

1. If you were a victim of crime, what services would you expect to receive?
   Should you be given financial compensation? Offenders are unlikely to be
   able to pay; therefore, who should?

2. Have a victims’ advocate come to class to discuss his or her job. This person
   could also be a domestic violence worker. Have the students ask questions
   about services provided and problems the workers find dealing with the
   criminal justice system.




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