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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200482 Find in a Library
Title: Dignity Denied: The Experience of Murder Victims' Family Members Who Oppose the Death Penalty
Author(s): Robert R. Cushing; Susannah Sheffer
Corporate Author: Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation
United States of America
Date Published: August 2002
Page Count: 33
Sponsoring Agency: Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation
Cambridge, MA 02140
Sale Source: Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation
2161 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This document discusses recommendations by the Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation (MVFR), which is a national organization of murder victims’ family members that oppose the death penalty.
Abstract: There is a need for policies to challenge the victim services community to develop a protocol that recognizes opposition to the death penalty as a valid response to the trauma of murder. When victims’ rights and services are linked and subordinate to prosecutors’ offices, they are often granted and enforced only at the prosecutor’s discretion. The family members’ willingness to cooperate with that office is critical to their being granted rights and services. When the prosecution is seeking the death penalty, victims’ family members that don’t want the death penalty imposed are automatically in conflict with the prosecution’s agenda. There is an inequity in the treatment of homicide survivors and in the application and enforcement of victims’ rights laws. A fundamental challenge to society is to recognize a distinct subgroup of victims; acknowledge that they have not been well served in the past and that harm has sometimes been done; and make a commitment to treating such victims equitably from now on. It is recommended that an amendment to Federal and State victims’ rights laws guarantee equality of all victims under the law and to ban discrimination based upon a victim’s position on the death penalty; victims’ services programs dedicated solely to serving the needs of all victims of crime. There should be recognition by Federal and State victims’ service agencies of murder victims’ family members that oppose the death penalty as a distinct subgroup of the crime victim population. A national protocol should be developed for serving victims’ families that oppose the death penalty. Such a protocol should identify and address the needs of these victims; set a standard of professional conduct for those that work with victims that includes equitable treatment of all victims, regardless of beliefs about the death penalty.
Main Term(s): Capital punishment; Victims rights
Index Term(s): Cruel and unusual punishment; Multiple victimization; Murderers; Psychological victimization effects; Punishment; Victim program evaluation; Victim prosecution of offender; Victim services
Note: Downloaded May 20, 2003.
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