The conflict between victims’ rights and offenders’ rights has long been a debated issue. As two lives are profoundly shaped by the sentence a court imposes, the victims and the offenders. (Karmen 2007 p.168) Victims have long been the ‘forgotten’ member of the criminal justice process, especially in regards to sentencing, as once a crime has been reported to the police it is out of the victims control. A victim cannot decide to make an arrest, a victim cannot decide to prosecute an offender, and more importantly a victim cannot determine the sentence handed down to the offender, regardless of how their victimisation may have affected their life, in the short term, and the long term. Historically offenders have and will always have to be a major focus in the Criminal Justice System, mainly during the sentencing stage. Offenders have many rights implemented to protect them through out the sentencing stage, and this is the main argument of victim rights activists, the apparent large disparity between victim and offender rights.
This essay seeks to analyse the impact to the Criminal Justice System if victims were given greater input into the punishment process of an offender. The discussion will firstly begin with a brief overview of current victims’ rights, and what rights victims have recently obtained. The essay will continue on to discuss arguments for and against greater victim participation during the sentencing process, such as, an offender receiving their ‘just deserts’ in regards to sentencing, and an offender being punished due to the impact of their crime, not the act they committed. This discussion will be achieved by review of relevant literature, and a review of current victim and offender rights through out the sentencing process. This essay will end by concluding all the information analysed through out the essay.
Since 1996 various powers have been introduced into several Australian...