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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78624 Find in a Library
Title: Resocialization - The Goal of the Criminal Trial?
Journal: Bewaehrungshilfe  Volume:27  Issue:2  Dated:(1980)  Pages:122-131
Author(s): D Haberstroh
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: The study considers rehabilitation as a goal of criminal proceedings in West Germany.
Abstract: German law assumes the need for resocialization of convicted offenders, although this goal is not expressly stated in substantive law. Resocialization is associated with learning processes which may or may not require institutional treatment. Only in cases where there is danger that an offender will commit future offenses is resocialization necessary. The question is whether accused offenders can undergo changes during criminal proceedings which will make them modify their behavior. Resocialization through the trial itself is possible if the offenders are able during the proceedings to compare their perception of events to the perceptions of other trial participants and to gain new insight into their behavior. Offenders and judges must reach a common understanding about the meaning of the offense. Unfortunately, the present language and procedures of the court are more conducive to exclusion of the offender than to development of common understanding of the truth. Although participation of the accused in proceedings is voluntary, such participation is a necessary prerequisite of socialization and cannot be replaced by statements of defender. But the capacity to engage in communication on the court level is not generally a characteristic of lower class offenders. Reform of trial proceedings to fit the model proposed would require that the accused be given a defined role in the active communication process and that different, misleading interpretations of information by various participants in proceedings be brought into correspondence. The newly delineated role of the accused should permit the accused to participate in primary questioning, to make explanatory statements after each witness is heard, to evaluate witnesses perceptions of his or her behavior, and to discuss with the lawyer how the defendant would like the case to be conducted. Notes are supplied.
Index Term(s): Court reform; Criminal proceedings; Defendants; Defense; Germany; Social classes; Social reintegration; Trial procedures
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