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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77566 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Using Experts and Victims in the Sentencing Process
Journal: Criminal Law Bulletin  Volume:17  Issue:3  Dated:(May/June 1981)  Pages:226-233
Author(s): J Henderson; G T Gitchoff
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the importance of victim perceptions and the possibility of involving the victim in the sentencing of an offender.
Abstract: The importance of victim perceptions is evidenced by several interrelated activities. First, many recent probation presentence evaluations mention what the victims considered to be an appropriate punishment. Second, the district attorney frequently claims the necessity for a certain degree of punishment severity in the name of the victim's sense of justice. Third, sentencing judges refer to the need for satisfying victims when they impose prison sentences. In the course of the private practice of writing presentence evaluations for the defense by a clinical criminologist and a clinical sociologist, data were gathered on approximately 100 victim perceptions of alternatives to incarceration. In general, victims voiced a desire that the offender be placed in prison or jail. Information relevant to the public concerning sentencing options was not available to victims. Alternatives to prison were not suggested by probation officers in their discussions with victims. Victims became more amenable to alternatives to incarceration as more time elapsed between the crime and the interview. The mechanism for obtaining information reflective of victim attitudes is important to the outcome. Probation officers, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges should realize that victims do provide a valuable source of information concerning the nature of the criminal as well as possible sentencing dispositions of the case. The article includes seven footnotes.
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Expert witnesses; Incarceration; Sentencing reform; Sentencing/Sanctions; Victim-offender relationships; Victimology
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