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NCJ Number: 201670 Find in a Library
Title: Implementing Victims' Rights: Why Corrections Professionals Should Care
Journal: Corrections Today Magazine  Volume:65  Issue:5  Dated:August 2003  Pages:78-82
Author(s): David Beatty; Trudy Gregorie
Date Published: August 2003
Page Count: 5
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the obstacles within the correctional field of observing victims’ rights, especially the right of notification.
Abstract: The past 20 years has seen a proliferation of victim rights’ legal mandates as the criminal justice system realizes the importance of the victim to the process of justice. One of the most important rights that victims enjoy is the right to notification. This means that victims must be notified about crucial aspects of the case, such as notice about hearings and release of the offender. However, despite legal mandates securing the right of notification, this victim right is often overlooked. This article discusses three main reasons victims are not notified by correctional agencies about important aspects of their cases: a lack of skill on the part of corrections professionals, a lack of resources to pay for notification, and a lack of will to carry out notification. Considerable skill is involved in the correct tracking of offender cases, and unfortunately, cross-referencing victims involved with cases may fall through the cracks as corrections professionals become bogged down in other aspects of the job. The second obstacle involves a lack of resources to carry out notification duties. However, resources can be found by astute professionals and, given that notification is mandated by law, every effort should be made to either find new resources or re-allocate existing funds in order to carry out notification duties. Finally, corrections professionals often feel bogged down by the many aspects of their job and, as a result, some let certain aspects of the job slide down their “to do” lists. Notification may not be considered a high priority and, thus, gets shuffled to the bottom of the pile. The article discusses some of the avenues available to victims who have failed to be notified about developments in their cases; solutions for victims vary by State, but are becoming more widespread. Victim notification laws are not meant to be optional and, as such, correctional agencies around the country need to find a way to make notification mandatory among their staff.
Main Term(s): Victims rights
Index Term(s): Criminal justice system policy; Victim Services Notification
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