Victims and the Criminal Justice System

More than half of all victimizations in the US are not reported to police (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). Research has shown that low reporting rates of violent crime may result from negative perceptions of law enforcement and victims’ concerns about how they will be treated by the police and courts (Parsons & Bergin, 2010).When victims do notify the police that a crime has occurred, statistics show that the criminal justice system’s response may not always be optimal. In 2008, police failed to appear at the scene of 11.2% of the reported violent crimes in the US, and to 23.4% of reported property crimes (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). Fewer than half of the violent crimes known to police result in arrests. Among defendants found guilty in state or district courts, convictions occur overwhelmingly by plea bargain—very few cases actually go to trial (U.S. Department of Justice, 2011). These statistics may be very disappointing to crime victims, who wish to see justice in response to their victimization.For this Assignment, review the attached scenario transcript. For each branch of the criminal justice system (law enforcement, courts, and corrections), consider which interactions with the victim were effective and which were ineffective. Think about what could be done to help the criminal justice system better serve victims.The Assignment (2–3 pages):Review the attached scenario transcript.For each branch of the criminal justice system, explain one interaction with the victim that was effective and one interaction with the victim that was ineffective and explain why.Explain programs that could be developed for or made available to criminal justice professionals to help better serve victims.Support your Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are to provide a reference list for all resources.References:U.S. Department of Justice. (2010). Criminal victimization in the United States, 2007: Statistical tables. Retrieved from….U.S. Department of Justice. (2011). Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics online. Retrieved from http:/,,

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CRJS 6203: Victimology
“Victims and the Criminal Justice System”
Multimedia Program Transcript
In this week’s exercise, you’ll see how one criminal act that only lasts for a few minutes can still
have a psychological impact on the victims that lasts for years.
This particular story begins at the offices of the Peopletown Gazette, in the cubicle of their
longtime sports columnist, Jim Keane.
NARRATOR (ALL IN VO): Jim Keane is a sportswriter for the Peopletown Gazette. He loves
football, baseball, his family and Chinese food – though not necessarily in that order.
But, because Jim and his wife are thinking about having a second child, Jim is also learning how
to love saving money.
So, instead of paying for everything on credit cards, Jim has resolved to only pay cash – as long
as he has some. But today is payday AND the start of football season, and Jim believes he’s
earned a lunch out with the boys at their favorite Chinese restaurant.
He just needs to stop by the ATM first.
JOHNNY (VO): “Everybody get down on the ground, now!!!”
NARRATOR (VO): And, in that one moment, Jim’s day changed in a way he never could have
JOHNNY (VO): “Put all the money in a bag for me! Do it now!!!”
SFX: Police, through a radio / megaphone: “This is the police! We have the bank surrounded!
Everyone remain calm!”
NARRATOR (VO): Jim and the other witnesses have been sitting in these seats for over an hour
now, waiting to give their testimony.
JOHNNY’S SISTER: “I want to see Johnny Kelly! He didn’t rob no bank! I’m his mother! No, I will
NOT wait!”
FEMALE DETECTIVE (VO): “If you could all just follow me? We’d like to speak with each of you,
one at a time. You can wait here.”
FEMALE DETECTIVE (VO): “Mister Keane? Let’s start with you.”
NARRATOR (VO): “They ask Jim to verify his name and residence, and then, before they ask him
for any details about the robbery, they make it very clear to Jim that the consequences of getting
any of the details wrong are very, very serious.
JIM’S WIFE (VO): “Honey, are you okay?”
NARRATOR (VO): “That evening, when finally returns home to his worried family, he receives a
phone call.”
NARRATOR (VO): The man on the other end identifies himself as a counselor who assists recent
victims of crime. Jim does not want to talk to him, and says so. The counselor tells Jim that he’ll
©2012 Laureate Education, Inc.
be there if Jim needs him, and he gives Jim a number where he can be reached, if Jim should
ever change his mind.
NARRATOR (VO): Later that week, the assistant detective contacts Jim and asks him to return to
the station to view a line-up.
Jim is told to relax, and only to identify someone if that person is present—not to feel pressured to
pick anyone out.
DETECTIVE (THROUGH INTERCOM): “Number Four, please turn to the left.”
NARRATOR (VO): Several months later, Jim gets another call. He is finally being summoned to
take the stand as a witness to the crime. Jim feels nervous, and he asks if his identity can remain
anonymous. But he is told by an administrator that he will have to appear in the courtroom, in
person, and that NOT to do so would be against the law.
NARRATOR (VO): In the weeks leading up to the trial, the prosecutor meets with Jim and the
other witnesses several times, to help prepare them for what they can expect when they do
testify. Jim is counseled to keep his responses on the stand simple, only ever answering the
question that was asked.
NARRATOR (VO): Although the prosecutor had requested to use a recorded deposition from Jim
that would have kept Jim’s identity anonymous, that motion has been denied.
NARRATOR (VO): Jim must report for the trial in person, and he must testify in front of the
alleged perpetrator.
NARRATOR (VO): When it comes time for the judge to issue a verdict, Jim listens as the judge
finds the defendant guilty and sentences him to four years in prison. The thief jumps up in his
seat and lunges in anger at the witnesses who are seated behind the prosecution.
JOHNNY (VO): “This is your fault! I’m wasting my LIFE because of you!”
NARRATOR (VO): “Jim feels very nervous. He leans forward to ask the prosecutor about the
possibility of witness protection, but the judge demands that everyone in the courtroom remain
NARRATOR (VO): “Nearly two years after the day the bank was robbed, Jim thinks he sees the
robber again, walking free. But how can that be? He was sentenced to four years in prison –
wasn’t he?”
NARRATOR (VO): Concerned, Jim texts his wife. She searches for information about Jim’s case
online and learns that the thief has indeed been granted an early parole.
NARRATOR (VO): Jim begins to feel nervous as he goes about his daily business. He sees a
strange car parked outside of his home at odd hours and wonders if the thief or his friends could
possibly know where he lives.
NARRATOR (VO): When Jim checks the website of the Peopletown court system, he sees that
his address is listed in the public records connected with the trial.
NARRATOR (VO): Jim cannot keep his nerves under control. He feels distracted at work and
jittery at home.
NARRATOR (VO): Jim finds the phone number he wrote down so long ago, on the evening of
that attempted robbery – the number given to him by the counselor who works with victims of
crime. Jim calls and finds that the counselor is willing to set up an appointment to talk.
©2012 Laureate Education, Inc.
NARRATOR (VO): Jim then calls the main number listed for the courthouse, and asks for
information about the witness protection program. The courthouse operator connects Jim with a
caseworker in the victims’ services office.
NARRATOR (VO): Jim is asked a series of short questions about his situation, and then he is
invited to visit their office in person, to meet with a caseworker who can explain Jim’s options.
© 2012 Laureate Education, Inc.
©2012 Laureate Education, Inc.

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