Victims statements can have an impact on the sentencing of offenders in some cases. I believe that it may depend on the crime committed and the long term effects of the victim. For instance, if a crime is more violent and leaves more physical effects on a victim, that may weight heavier than mental or psychological effects. Putting myself in a position of a Judge, it would be easier for a Judge to see the physical effects of a victim and that may help them realize the severity of the crime and how the victim suffered and will suffer long term. Psychological effects are harder to see and it is easy for someone to say that they have sleepless nights or anxiety because of the crime, but the Judge cannot see that and it may not have as much of an impact in their decision making. Some of the psychological effects also may take a while to set in such as in the case of Jim in this week’s resource video. It took over a year for the last effects to set in with Jim and it was not until he saw the offender walking freely after being released from prison that Jim started to feel anxiety about the potential for becoming a victim again. I do believe that victim statements should be allowed in a courtroom because it is important for all parties involved to see what the victim has suffered. It is one thing to hear about a case through testimony but many people may not think past the one day that the crime occurred to see the long term effects of the crime on not only the victim but possibly on society.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Victims and the criminal justice system. Baltimore, MD: Author.
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