Victim's rights resources
February 3, 2013 2:28 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to read more about the victim's rights movement and its impact on law, sentencing guidelines, and other matters. Bonus points: California. Bonus bonus points: a critical examination of the victim's rights movement that is comprehensible to a non-lawyer. Any suggestions?
posted by staboo to Law & Government (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
An increasing amount is being written by criminologists, lawyers and sociologists about this issue. There are some specific studies of the victim movement in California (eg here) but there are quite specialised.

If you are after something academic but readable then the work of Paul Rock is a good starting point. He has written about the victims' rights movements in various western jurisdictions. His most important work is Constructing Victims' Rights: The Home Office, New Labour and Victims. Although it's a specific account of the growth of victims' organisations in the UK, it also has a lot of comparisons to the US experience and gives a history of victim movements in various states.

I found the book very useful when I was working on policy in this area of criminal justice: although an academic monograph it is accessible and, while trying to give a voice to victim lobby groups, does not accept their position uncritically.
posted by greycap at 3:14 PM on February 3, 2013

Here are two academic articles on Victim Impact Statements in sentencing (not sentencing guidelines but the sentencing itself) and in empowerment of victims for a case study in Minnesota. They are academic but straightforward and pretty accessible. If you can't find the articles, Amy Propen is at Cal Poly and would probably be able to email them to you.

Schuster, Mary Lay and Amy Propen. “Victim Impact Statements and the Domestic Violence Victim: Judicial Responses to Emotion in the Courtroom.” Law, Culture & the Humanities. 6.1 (2010): 75-104.

Propen, Amy and Mary Lay Schuster. “Making Academic Work Advocacy Work: Technologies of Power in the Public Arena.” Journal of Business and Technical Communication (JBTC). Special Issue: Business and Technical Communication in the Public Sphere. 22.3 (2008): 299-329.
posted by BlooPen at 4:17 PM on February 3, 2013

Sasha Abramsky's writing may be helpful, including Sacramento’s K-Street Lobbyists:
The criminal justice inner circle
, interview, and his book, American Furies.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:42 PM on February 3, 2013

You may be interested in the recent book Rights for Victims of Crime: Rebalancing Justice.

Rights for Victims of Crime starts with chapters on the extent and consequences of victimization as well as national and international standards. Its core chapters show how to better meet the needs of victims; It shows how to improve the law enforcement response. It calls for sustained, availability of services. It illustrates how to get restitution from the offender and the state; It calls for legal standing for victims in court. Its conclusions call for judicial protection of victim rights and protecting the investment of taxpayers in serving victims. Each chapter concludes with specific proposals for legislators.

See many REVIEWS at Here is a section from the foreword ...

“Rights for Victims of Crime: Rebalancing Justice focuses on the next steps forward for victims: comprehensive laws, permanent funding, and rights. … I encourage anyone who has been a victim of crime in any sense of the word … to read and embrace this book. It is a work that people must hold up to their legislators to demand that victims’ issues be urgently addressed through legislation that will change our national agendas. Only then will we see a proper balance of justice in our society.”

- Chief Justice Richard Barajas (ret.), Texas Court of Appeals, El Paso in the foreword

I am also active on twitter and linked-in on both how to prevent victimization and how to change laws and practices to meet the needs of victims of crime.
posted by IrvinWaller at 4:41 AM on February 4, 2013

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