Victimology, as defined, is a “branch of criminology that studies the relationship between an injured party and an offender by examining the causes and the nature of the consequent suffering” (Victimology, 2008).
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It basically focuses on identifying whether the delinquents were complete strangers, plain acquaintances, a friend or family member, or even confidants and to why the perpetrator has chosen that particular person or place as a target (Victimology, 2008).
It is also centered on measuring the frequency of a number of types of victimization. The research also concentrated on explicating why risks vary from groups, age, sexual category, social status, race, and area of residence as a result of deep exposure to these criminal offenders (Walklate, 1992).
It is during the mid-’40s, and 50’s when several criminologists, namely: Hans von Hentig, Benjamin Mendelsohn, and Henri Ellenberger, examined interactions between victims and offenders and stressed on mutual influences and role turnovers that victimology came to light (Victimology, 2008).
During 1970 studies were made to minimize victimization, improve the system of police and courts when handling complaints, and to be able to provide a fast pace of its resolution (Victimology, 2008). Other fields, such as psychology, sociology, economics, and political sciences, enriched its grounds (Victimology, 2008).
The criminal justice system aids this branch of study to the further accomplishment of its execution (Elias, 1991). It is a system of organized groups that are utilized by the local governments to direct and sustain social control, preventing and taking hold of crimes, and penalizing those who break the law (Elias, 1991).
The contemporary criminal justice system has indeed progressed since the earliest times, with new systems of punishment, additional rights for delinquents and victims, as well as amendable alterations (Daly, 1994).
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However, the justice system has, in some ways, failed to meet the expectations of the social body, more importantly, the victims of criminal injustices (Daly, 1994). That is why amendments of the traditional system are demanded by the public for them to further comply with their tasks in maintaining public safety and reducing rates of victimization.
Purpose of alternatives
Amendments were made within particular instances of time and place interventions. It essentially prioritizes in helping reduce the occurrence of anti-social crimes and provide appropriate and non-violent alternatives to punishments among the offenders (Walklate, 1992).
In order to implement such an objective, the community-based restorative justice must, however, be adopted, which was known to have the best concepts in giving them a sensible guide for its employment (Elias, 1991). Plans for implementations of such alterations were already made in various areas; these amendment proposals are as follows:
Community security projects and crime prevention systems were already being run by various organizations for the past years (Elias, 1991). A draft strategy was proposed in April 2002, and the Community Safety Unit is currently operating in the state of Ireland (Hallett, 1994), which centers on these main functions:
- Develop safety strategies within Ireland’s community (Hallett, 1994)
- Inculcate such procedures in the policies of the government department to make sure that these issues are acknowledged and addressed (Elias, 1991)
- Provide useful information, advice, and assistance to partners in local communities (Hallett, 1994)
- Give funds to projects that aid to deliver the targets of central government (Walklate, 1992)
- Provide finances to local target and innovative project delivery (Walklate, 1992)
- Falsify relations with those countries dealing with similar community safety procedures (Elias, 1991)
- Inform ministers on issues of safety in the community (Elias, 1991)
This concentrates on the roles of police mandates within particular vicinities. It assesses that policing must be the core purpose of the police service and the central function of every police station (Walklate, 1992).
Dispersed and non-centralized power and responsibility with neighbor policing teams and organization of own community association mechanisms for each officer are what it asserts (Walklate, 1992). Moreover, there were certain recommendations into how they can make every officer community-friendly and more receptive to the needs of their local junction; these include the following:
- “Accountability” that involves creating a real partnership between the police and the community – government agencies, non-governmental organizations, families, citizens; a partnership based on openness and understanding; a partnership in which policing reflects and responds to the community’s needs” (Walklate, 1992).
- “Policing” should be a collective community responsibility: a partnership for community safety. This sort of policing is more difficult than policing the community. It requires an end to “us” and “them” concepts of policing” (Walklate, 1992).
In addition, DBPP (District Policing Partnership Boards) was established for every district per se. The main purposes of the DPP are as follows:
- Provide new information on any matter concerning policing of the district to the District Commander (Elias, 1991)
- Supervise police performance when doing policing plans (Walklate, 1992)
- Schedule of public interviews on matters that have to do with district policing and convince them to cooperate with the police in crime prevention (Walklate, 1992)
- Operate forums for discussion and consultation involving matters that affect policing within the district (Elias, 1991)
Implementation of Alterations
Maintaining public safety and security are only some of the functions of the criminal justice system (Elias, 1991). The public as well expects them to be trustworthy and just aside from being helpful in eliminating crime and punishing delinquents. Many of these objectives are unmet today, and in some fractions, the faction is viewed with suspicion and disbelief (Hallett, 1994).
Investigations have awakened the people into a reality that system can and does convicted the wrong people, which allows the real offenders to hang about freely hurting more victims (Walklate, 1992). Laboratories from which victims rely on identifying true suspects lack funds and are under the usual standards (Harding, 1994).
The incarceration of people increases rapidly. Policymakers have raised the number of crimes and lengthen criminal sentences (Harding, 1994). Minors were imprisoned frequently, often leaving them in confinement longer than supposed to. The prison systems are filled with non-violent offenders and are jam-packed that they tend to gust at their ridge, causing harm to both the inmates and guards (Hallett, 1994).
Furthermore, political actors are indeed ashamed to be labeled as ‘soft on crime’ that is why they resist in giving pardons no matter how worthy they may be (Harding, 1994) They hesitate to provide sufficient finances for hiring lawyers to represent individuals indicted of offense (Hallett, 1994).
When releasing ex-convicts, we inhibit them to reenter the society in a just and secured way by not giving proper support systems (Walklate, 1992). The justice system has as well failed to treat victims with regard, to give them the suitable alterations of the system and to commit to the scheme of the restorative justice (Harding, 1994).
Subsequently, persons convicted in a crime they did not commit are also considered victims. Revisions of the existing laws must be made to prevent such occurrence (Hallett, 1994). Additionally, federal courts are frequently inaccessible to resolve the errors, further discouraging the credibility of convictions (Harding, 1994). The system is recognized to be “failing too many, costing too much, and helping too few” (Hallett, 1994).
Change and alteration of the criminal justice system is a continuous argument. The principles of revisions must include these factors:
- Fairness and Accuracy- the criminal justice system must deal with individuals justly by giving them awareness to all precautions and services presented by the law (Elias, 1991)
- Elimination of disparities- abolition of policies that generate racial prejudice which weakens their aim to promote social equality and justice under the jurisdiction (Elias, 1991)
- Alternatives to imprisonment- confinement should only be meant to offenders who committed the most serious crimes (Daly, 1994). Community placement and supervision are proven to be effectual, which includes a combination of constraints and treatment access of other services, specifically for persons who have certain addictions and/or mental disorders (Elias, 1991).
- Reasonable punishment- punishment must be ensured by the sentencing laws to be suitable for the crime committed, and that proper judgment must be possessed by the judge to enforce a punishment not severer than ought to (Daly, 1994)
- Incarceration, Rehabilitation, and Reentry- Providing rehabilitation to those leaving the complex penal system must be provided to help them to reenter the society (Elias, 1991) successfully.
- Effectiveness- The strategies and tactics practiced by the criminal justice system must meet its effectuality in either evidence-based or scientific standards of efficacy (Daly, 1994). “This will improve the effectiveness of law enforcement, investigation, prosecution, and punishment; increase the public faith and trust in the system by minimizing mistakes and improving results; and reduce costs by increasing accuracy and reducing recidivism” (Elias, 1991).
Alterations to the Criminal Justice System must be given much attention and deliberation. This does not only reveal success to the system, which involves helping the victims of crime but as well as victims of different ideologies, may it be physical, emotional, or moral. The justice system has provided amendments which are not at all effectual to aid such piteous victims.
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However, a few of such alterations have proven to be on its way to successful employment. Improvements and developments must be drastically made within the laws to eradicate these crimes completely. Dedication and hard work to one’s duty by these organizations will establish a transition of a society full of violence to a non-violent one.
Daly, K. 1994, Gender, Crime and Punishment, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.
Elias, R. 1991b, ‘Crime control as human rights enforcement’, in Criminology as Peacemaking, eds Harold E. Pepinsky & Richard Quinney, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, pp. 251-62.
Hallett, M. 1994, ‘Why we fail at crime control’, Peace Review, Summer, pp. 177-81.
Harding, R. 1994, ‘Victimisation, moral panics, and the distortion of criminal justice policy’, Current Issues in Criminal Justice, vol. 6, pp. 27-42.
Victimology. (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 08, 2008, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Walklate, S. 1992, ‘Researching victims of crime: Critical victimology’, in Realist Criminology: Crime Control and Policing in the 1990s, eds John Lowman & Brian
D. MacLean, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, pp. 285-302.