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NCJ Number: NCJ 156555     Find in a Library
Title: Victim and Witness Intimidation: New Developments and Emerging Responses
  Document URL: Text PDF PDF 
Author(s): K M Healey
Corporate Author: Abt Associates, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 14
  Series: NIJ Research in Action
  Annotation: This report summarizes recent developments in gang-related and drug-related intimidation of victims and witnesses, current responses to the problem by police and prosecutors, and emerging models and strategies for its prevention and suppression.
Abstract: The study is based on interviews with 32 criminal justice professionals from 20 urban jurisdictions, including prosecutors; victim services directors; Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers; judges; and scholars. Also included are the insights of a working group of 20 criminal justice professionals who met in September 1994 to exchange information on emerging responses to the problem of victim and witness intimidation. Prosecutors in some jurisdictions report an increase in victim/witness intimidation; some estimate intimidation as a factor in 75 to 100 percent of the violent crimes committed in some gang-dominated neighborhoods. Each case-specific act of violence against victims or witnesses promotes the communitywide perception that any cooperation with the criminal justice system is dangerous. Factors that contribute to the reluctance of witnesses to cooperate with the criminal justice system include fear, strong community ties, or a deep-seated distrust of law enforcement. Factors that increase the likelihood of intimidation include the violent nature of the initial crime, a previous personal connection to the defendant, geographic proximity to the defendant, and membership in a culturally vulnerable group. Traditional approaches for combating victim/witness intimidation include warnings to the defendant concerning obstruction of justice laws, high bail, aggressive prosecution of reported intimidation attempts, and witnesses' entry into the Federal witness security program. Some innovative interventions are emergency relocation and support for witnesses; innovative courtroom security measures; interagency cooperation to relocate witnesses who live in public housing; secure segregation of intimidated victims/witnesses in correctional facilities; and community outreach and collaboration among criminal justice, social service, and community groups. This report also provides guidelines for establishing a comprehensive witness security and assistance program. 15 notes
Main Term(s): Victim-witness intimidation
Index Term(s): Witness protection ; Drug law offenses ; Gangs
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America

US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
United States of America
Grant Number: OJP-94-C-007
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Country: United States of America
Language: English
Note: From National Institute of Justice Research in Action, October 1995.
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