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Victimology And Criminal Justice System Essay

2211 words - 9 pages

Victimology and Criminal Justice System
Lisa Moore
CJA 540
May 7, 2010
Dr. Timothy Emerick

Victimology and Criminal Justice System
According to Karmen (2003) “victimology is the scientific study of victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system that is, the police and courts, and corrections officials and the connections between victims and other social groups and institutions, such as the media, businesses, and social movements, and a victim is any person who has been harmed by another person.” Alternatives to the traditional criminal justice system, such as shaming, peacemaking ...view middle of the document...

The theory predicts that this latter type of shaming results in greater levels of offending.”
Shame is “detached from both the criminal justice practice, and sidestepped by criminological theory, is currently presented as the solution to the stalemate implied by the desolate bawl that 'nothing works” (Moore, 1993). On the other hand, stigmatization does not "separate a person who has committed an unacceptable act from the community against which that particular person has offended” (Moore, 1993). Shaming dates back to the late 18th century, offenders receive shaming as a form of punishment if the crime were against a person or property. Instead of being incarcerated the offender was sentenced to receive public punishment also called shaming. Shaming the offender serves two purposes (1) to keep the offender from committing more crimes, and (2) to help the offender see that his criminal behavior was wrong and would not be tolerated.
Judges who impose shaming penalties make the false assumption that criminals share the average person’s view of the legal system. Because the average person would feel shame when being publicly humiliated for breaking the law and would adjust offenders behavior accordingly, judges assume that criminals will react in the same way. Yet this is wrong many criminals that the legal system is illegitimately biased against them and that they were forced to break the law because of their circumstances. Such people are impervious to public humiliation because they see it as another piece of confirming evidence that the entire system is corrupt and cruel. If these people are to be reached, it cannot be done with new and bizarre punishments, but only by measure taken before the crime is committed, by instilling enough values in the criminal that he or she has a sense of shame in the first place.
Shaming punishments have been challenged in the appellate courts on three fronts: (1) that they violate the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment, (2) that they violate the First Amendment by compelling defendants to convey a judicially scripted message in the form of forced apologies, warning signs, newspaper ads, and sandwich boards), and (3) that shaming punishments are not specifically authorized by state sentencing guidelines and therefore constitute an abuse of judicial discretion. The first two challenges may appear stronger because they have a basis in the Constitution, yet they have proven less successful in the appellate courts.
Offenders are not the only people that shaming applies to nowadays we are seeing the victim receiving a form of shame by the prosecution and defense attorneys as a tactic to relive the crime against them, which could be in some cases painful and humiliating. From the standpoint of the prosecution shaming the victim in court is used as a tactic to let the judge and jury know the details of the crime from the victim, yes by doing this the victim has to relive every...

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