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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78623 Find in a Library
Title: Obstacles to Resocialization in the Main Trial
Journal: Bewaehrungshilfe  Volume:27  Issue:2  Dated:(1980)  Pages:111-121
Author(s): K Rohr
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 11
Format: Article
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: Negative effects of criminal trial proceedings on resocialization of offenders are outlined.
Abstract: Any form of criminal law must maintain legitimate social control and mete out appropriate penalties. But use of measures designed to meet the needs of both the offender and society rather than to avenge an offense is the only valid approach to criminal law in a democratic State. Resocialization and social reintegration must be the principal goals of penalties. However, a number of circumstances, particularly in the main-trial segment of criminal procedures, may interfere with achievement of these goals, as a number of examples illustrate. Police lack of empathy in treatment of young offenders may create a negative impression of the juvenile which influences the whole course of court proceedings. Individual problems of offenders, such as mild mental retardation, may be misinterpreted because of basic communication difficulties unrecognized by the court. Disturbances in the interaction between the courts and the accused are especially common when the offender belongs to the lower class and is having difficulties in understanding because of the stress of the situation. The formalities of proceedings are often perceived as an intimidating display of power. The situation is aggravated by the position of the probation assistant, who is in a constant state of conflict between his control and social work functions. If resocialization is actually to be achieved, the procedures of the main trial must be redefined, speech barriers must be eliminated, and the offender's personality and background must be investigated at an early point in the process. Futhermore, the role of the social assistant must be defined by law, and perhaps most important, special measures must replace criminal penalties.
Index Term(s): Court reform; Courtroom decorum; Criminal proceedings; Defendants; Germany; Social classes; Social reintegration; Trial procedures
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