The Relationship Between The Crime Victim and The Criminal Justice System

The Relationship Between The Crime Victim and The Criminal Justice System

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Imagine, your life is perfect, in all its imperfections. You worked hard, through
school, married with children, striving along towards goals, a mortgage, that fabulous
house, and family reunions. Life is up and down, but your family is what makes all
worthwhile. Hard times are family supported, laughter and tears, memories of past
inspiring futures yet to come. Now, imagine in the wink of an eye, it is all gone, your wife
raped and brutally murdered, your child found slaughtered in the yard, your husband,
mother, father or sibling was tortured relentlessly for hours or days before finally dying,
your life for all intent purposes is gone. There will never be healing, there will never be
closure. All is lost forever. Nothing remains - nothing, except your hope for justice
and retribution.

The death penalty for murder is emotionally charged and subject of great debate.

Although survivors of homicide are the ones directly impacted by the crime, the topics of the

death penalty and life without parole come exclusively from a societal, rather than an individual

perspective. As well, most of the attention has focused on the institution of the death penalty and

singularly on the offender instead of the victim. Thus, leaving survivors feeling ignored,

devalued, and rightfully worried that there will not be justice, for them or their loved ones.

Further, Peterson et el state:

Survivor suffering correlates with the impact of the sentence given to the offender. The lest the punishment, the lest the “closure” the more trauma, increasing life long suffering, while the death penalty, though rarely implemented, is touted as bringing “closure,” and relieving some suffering for family members of homicide victims.
Armour, Ma...


... middle of paper ...


...ernational American Commission Human Rights, IACHR, 2007), has yet to be decided by the international commission.


Hogan & Emler, Retributive Justice, in THE JUSTICE MOTIVE IN SOCIAL BEHAVIOR:
ADAPTING TO TIMES OF SCARCITY AND CHANGE 125, 134–35 (Melvin J. Lerner & Sally C. Lerner eds., 1981).


Koch. Edward, I., (b. 1924), long active in Democratic politics, was mayor of New York from
1978 to 1989. This essay first appeared in The New Republic on April 15, 1985. Koch, Edward, I., "Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life." Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life. Web. 27 Apr. 2014.

Loge. Peter, The Process of Healing and the Trial as Product: Incompatibility, Courts, and
Murder Victim Family Members, in WOUNDS THAT DO NOT BIND: VICTIM BASED PERSPECTIVES ON THE DEATH PENALTY 411, 412 n.5 (James R. Acker & David R. Karp eds., 2006)

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