Victims of Crime and Community Justice

Victims of Crime and Community Justice

Victims of Crime and Community Justice

Victims of Crime and Community Justice

Synopsis

"Victims of crime do not benefit directly from criminal justice policies that diminish the rights of offenders and increase their penalties. Victims of Crime and Community Justice lays bare the assumptions about victims and offenders that restrict efficient policy-making and proposes a more balanced approach that takes into account both the needs of the victim and the responsibilities of the offender. Brian Williams evaluates proposed solutions, including restorative justice and informal community justice, and draws on evidence and experiences from the UK and around the world to investigate which measures have proved effective and how criminal justice policies might be redressed. This thorough and comprehensive analysis of the topic is essential reading for practitioners in restorative and community justice, probation officers, social workers and students of criminology, victimology and community justice." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Victims of crime were of little concern to legislators and policymakers worldwide as recently as the 1960s, but in many jurisdictions their interests are now seen as crucial. This book aims to describe and explain the processes which have been involved in creating this change, and to raise some questions about the genuineness of the current apparent policy interest in victim issues. Organisations claiming to represent victims have become increasingly vocal and influential over this period and in the process the issues involved have inevitably been politicised: some of the advantages and drawbacks of this development are discussed in this chapter, along with a brief and selective history of victim policy internationally, which aims to show how certain common themes have dominated the development of this area of policy.

Chapter Two considers community justice, its meanings and its implications for victims, drawing upon examples from a number of countries. Like so many developments in criminal justice, the movement towards community justice has at times failed to consider victims' needs sufficiently, despite its ostensible aim of encouraging the return of the 'ownership' of criminal justice to those most affected by its decisions.

In Chapter Three, the rise of restorative justice is considered. Different models of restorative justice have evolved in various countries, and this has implications for victims of crime whose involvement and responses are likely to vary according to the approaches taken. Here again, the need to balance the interests of the various parties appropriately is a major concern. In a number of countries, restorative justice has been introduced in an attempt to deal with growing public disquiet about the operation of conventional criminal justice. In many cases, reform has been offender-led, in the sense that it has arisen from . . .

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