Between 1990 and 2004, the government started granting crime victims’ rights for the cases against the accused. These rights progressively become more and more to make the process easier and more helpful to the victims. These granted rights are the right to notification, participation and consultation, compensation and restitution, right to protection, and right to a speedy trial.
Having notification of everything that is going on with a case is one of the most basic and important rights that a victim can have.
Participation and Consultation
The most common form of participation is a victim impact statement that is submitted at the time of sentencing. Some states will even allow for victims to submit a statement of what they feel is an appropriate sentence for the offender. Also 40 of the 50 states requires officials to contact the victim before making decisions on bond, please, sentencing, and parole.
Compensation and Restitution
Victims often incur costs due to the crime that was committed against them whether it be medical costs, property damage, or loss of income. The restitution money is typically required to be paid in order for an offender to be able to be released on parole, as part of a suspended sentence, or to be able to be put on work release. There is also a public victim compensation program that helps to pay the victims for restitution and these funds are collected by fees and charges paid by the offender.
Right to Protection
Most states provide victims some right to protection whether it be information about what to do when a defendant makes intimidating comments, the courts will provide no contact orders, provide separate and secure waiting rooms. Many states are also providing protection from intimidation by not making the victims’ personal information on court documents as well as not having to provide work addresses in court.
Right to a Speedy Trail
Only about half of states provide the right to a speedy disposition of trial, but the courts are required to take into consideration the interest of the victims when it comes to ruling on motions for continuance. Some states also provide accelerated dispositions for those cases that involve elderly, disabled, or minor children.
Davis, R.C., & Mulford, C. (2008, May). Victim rights and new remedies: Finally getting victims their due. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 24,198.
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