Application: victims and the criminal justice system
More than half of all victimizations in the US are not reported to police (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). Research has shown that low reporting rates of violent crime may result from negative perceptions of law enforcement and victims’ concerns about how they will be treated by the police and courts (Parsons & Bergin, 2010).
When victims do notify the police that a crime has occurred, statistics show that the criminal justice system’s response may not always be optimal. In 2008, police failed to appear at the scene of 11.2% of the reported violent crimes in the US, and to 23.4% of reported property crimes (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). Fewer than half of the violent crimes known to police result in arrests. Among defendants found guilty in state or district courts, convictions occur overwhelmingly by plea bargain—very few cases actually go to trial (U.S. Department of Justice, 2011). These statistics may be very disappointing to crime victims, who wish to see justice in response to their victimization.
For this Assignment, review the scenario in this week’s Interactive Community. For each branch of the criminal justice system (law enforcement, courts, and corrections), consider which interactions with the victim were effective and which were ineffective. Think about what could be done to help the criminal justice system better serve victims.
The Assignment (2–3 pages):
- Visit the Interactive Community and follow the instructions to access this week’s media.
- For each branch of the criminal justice system, explain one interaction with the victim that was effective and one interaction with the victim that was ineffective and explain why.
- Explain programs that could be developed for or made available to criminal justice professionals to help better serve victims.