Victims’ Rights paper Sandee Maige CJA 313 Contemporary Issues In Criminal Justice Professor Hale May 20, 2010 As Americans in the United States we [Use “we,” “us,” or “our” to mean yourself and coauthors, not general humanity (or yourself and the reader)] are entitled [The passive voice is a form of “be” (are) and a participle (entitled). Over-use of the passive voice can make paragraphs tedious to read and officious.
Try to use the active voice most often, e. g. , the student completed the paper on time. The passive voice version–The paper was completed on time by the student–See eCampus>CWE>Tutorials & Guides>Grammar & Writing Guides>Active & passive voice] and fortunate to have rights if we [Place comma before this word if this is the end of the introductory phrase (beginning with “As”)] are a victim of a crime.
Over the years victims’ have been part of the legal system but have often been ignored. [Passive voice] Victims need a voice and in the past have been left out of the legal process in which they should have the right to be a part of. The victims are not the only ones who suffer but they also have been neglected [Passive voice] in having [Clearer writing suggestion–“having” as a transitive verb is vague. Reconsider the sentence, as in “possessing,” “acquiring,” “developing,” etc.
Often “having” can simply be deleted] the right to be heard at the sentencing to hear the deliverance of the consequences their offender will face. Fortunately, this has changed over the span of 20 years, and the legal process has given victims the right to truth, justice and [Check punctuation–insert a comma before this word if this is the last in a list of more than two–or if it begins a new clause] resolution. They are now [Clearer writing suggestion–“Now” is a tricky concept.
If the sentence is in the past tense, it probably should be rendered as “then. ” If not, and unless you are making a philosophical statement (Now is the time to improve myself) or mean “as of the present time” (the business is now known as Ajax Corporation), consider removing “now”–because this is being read after the time you wrote it, your “now” is in the past] respected [Passive voice] and given the right to be treated [Passive voice] with dignity and respect. What is a Victim? Unless in a quote, avoid rhetorical questions in academic writing] Victim, has been defined [Passive voice] as any person who has suffered directly, indirectly harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of fundamental rights, as a result of crimes within the jurisdiction of a court (Amnesty International USA Program for International Justice). Twenty years ago Victims were treated [Passive voice] as witnesses. They were not actually [Cliche: “actual” and “actually” are weak words whose meaning is nothing more than “in point of fact. They are often used as intensifiers but usually can be deleted with no change in meaning ] participants in the justice system. They were limited [Passive voice] to court proceedings and to the amount of input being [Doctoral rule (but good advice for any academic writer)–If not a noun (as in “human being”), the word “Being” is hard to imagine; it means “existing. ” Try to rewrite this without using “being”–with words like “attending,” “working,” “living,” “experiencing,” simply “as”–or even removing “being” completely] able to provide in relation to their case.
The Witness Program was founded in the 1970’s [Check spelling: if the preceding is a year, following the year with apostrophe-s means possessive; leave out the apostrophe before s] to provide victims with resources and services to assist them in the effects of the crime that was committed [Passive voice] upon them. They provided information to the victim so they would understand how the criminal justice system worked so they would be aware of the process and rights they hold. Once a crime is committed [Passive voice] and is reported [Passive voice] to law enforcement officials, the criminal process will begin.
The justice system is a confusing process for a victim who has probably never dealt with a court system at all. There are [“There are” is an awkward phrase if “there” is not clearly a location] Victims’ Advocates they are to provide the victim with the process and resources that are available to them. The advocate is there to answer any questions and concerns that he or she may have. There are [Avoid “there is,” etc. ] critical stages that payout within the criminal justice process that the victim must become aware of.
Some of these process include the following: Filing of charges and/or [This awkward construction is a shortcut appropriate in a legal document, not in academic writing] the decision not to file charges, preliminary hearing, any bond reduction or modification of the hearing, arraignment hearing, any subpoenas for the victim’s mental health, medical or victims compensations records, trial, sentencing, appellate review or appellate decision, sentencing reconsideration, probation hearing, change of venue or transfer of probation officer, any hearings related to parole.
One of the resources for a victim is the Victims’ Compensation Fund. This is a fund provided through the state attorney’s office. This grant allows the state to provide money to the victim to help them relocate, whether it is locally or to another state. This program pays for medical expenses, provides health care, loss of earnings, funeral expenses to help the victim land back on their feet. Some victims’ are left with medical bills and other costs to pay for a crime that was committed [Passive voice] on them. The most important right that a victim has is the right to be informed [Passive voice] and be present at hearings.
They victim also has the right to be heard at all hearings and bond sentencing, modifications, pleas, and any sentencing that may occur. This is a right that helps the victim gain closure from the crime that was committed [Passive voice] against them, becoming informed of all “critical stages” of the process for the victim is a remarkable right that allows them to feel [Clearer writing suggestion: if “feel” or “felt” is used in the sense of “to believe or think,” it is a cliche and vague; use “believe” or “think”] involved and informed. So they do have the right to speak up if they desire.
With this right they are also released from any embarrassment, intimidation, or abuse that an attorney or court system may ask of them to perform. They are not required [Passive voice] to have to speak up and relive the malicious act if they don’t want. The District Attorney’s office has a responsibility to the victim and is a valuable source of knowledge for the victim. The district attorney’s office handles the victims’ case and is available for questions, concerns or [Check punctuation–insert a comma before this word if this is the last in a list of more than two–or if it begins a new clause] safety issues the victim may have.
They are available for consultation before hearings, depositions and trials as well as keeping the victim informed regarding the status of the case. The District Attorney is responsible for filing the charges on the offender with an explanation of the charges he/she [This awkward construction is a shortcut appropriate in a legal document, but avoid using it in academic writing. Write it out] is being charged [Passive voice] with. The state attorney will provide dates, times and the place of all court proceedings along with any scheduling or rescheduling of all events in relation to the case.
The state attorney’s office is also responsible for providing transportation to the court house [The preceding two words are spelled as one word] if the victim does not have the access to transporting themselves. He or she will prepare a victim impact [Doctoral rule (although good advice for any academic writer): “impact” is a noun (a hit). It is informally used as a verb (impacting the business), but avoid this in academic writing ] statement to be presented [Passive voice] or heard at the sentencing hearing.
This statement will impact the jury, court officials, etc. and can a major role in the outcome of the hearing. The state attorney will also protect the victims’ whereabouts and personal information such as address, phone numbers, employment address and any other information that could potentially lead the offender to the victim. The district attorney will consult with the victim concerning the plea offers, reduction of charges and any other classes or programs that the victim may want the offender to complete as part of his punishment.
If there was property damage or property to be returned [Passive voice] the state attorney will facilitate the return of the property. A critical and I feel [“think” or “believe”? ] most important responsibility of the state attorney is offering the information to the victim regarding the right to receive information from the correctional officers and facility that updates you [Eliminate second person (you, your) in academic documents and avoid addressing the reader directly.
Use third-person pronouns (he, she, it, they)] on the criminal and his imprisonment. This allows the facility to notify him or her of a release coming up and to be notified [Passive voice] of the actual [see above] release date and information where [If not referring to a place, instead of “where,” use “in which”] the offender will be staying once released as well as the probation terms. Not only does the State Attorney have responsibilities to the victim but also the Court officials have specific obligations as well.
They are required [Passive voice] to give the victim the opportunity to be present at all court proceedings, inform the victim of any restitution that will be awarded to them. If any court ordered testing against the offender has been done the court must notify the victim of the results. The probation department is in charge of providing the victim with the location, telephone numbers, and contact information on the probation officer assigned to the offender.
They are required [Passive voice] to notify the victim when the probation is terminated [Passive voice] or if it has been violated. [Passive voice] If the offender changes locations of facilities or any of their terms of sentencing is modified [Passive voice] the victim is notified. [Passive voice] If the offender shows positive for any testing required under the terms of probation or if they [Place comma before this word if this is the end of the introductory phrase (beginning with “If”)] fail to report to probation the victim is automatically notified.
If probation is extended [Passive voice] for any reasons or if the terms are modified [Passive voice] the victim is notified [Passive voice] immediately of these changes. It is important that the victim is notified [Passive voice] because in some cases such as domestic violence cases there are restraining orders and just because these orders have been put in place doesn’t mean that they are not violated. [Passive voice] If violated it is an automatic return to jail and most likely prison time of a minimum of a year.
Once an offender is released [Passive voice] from jail, they are usually still on probation and it is usually supervised [Passive voice] by a state parole officer. However, department of corrections has a responsibility to the victim to keep certain information such as; [Remove semicolon] address, telephone contacts, employment, school and other pertinent information confidential and away from the offender. The victims’ impact statement is also confidential material not disclosed or available to the offender. There are [Avoid “there is,” etc. several other reasons the victim may be notified [Passive voice] from Department of Corrections regarding the offender. If the offender is released [Passive voice] early or transferred to a public or private community, such as a halfway house, or if the person has been granted [Passive voice] a furlough, work release, has escaped or possible has died they [Check pronoun agreement–if “they” refers to “person” (or a singular subject), it should be singular, too (he or she) and perhaps require adjusting the following verb] must be notified. Passive voice] Often victims’ believe they are safe knowing the offender is locked [Passive voice] up and may need time to prepare for the offender’s release into society. I have established the rights that victims have and the individuals who are [Clearer writing suggestion–see if the sentence can be rewritten to remove “that are” or “who are”] responsible for making sure that the resources, rights, and accommodations are available to them. However, victims’ have responsibilities that they must be responsible for.
As a victim he or she must provide your [second person] current contact address, phone number, employer’s [Check spelling–remove the apostrophe if the word is not possessive] information and if any of this information changes he or she must notify the authorities immediately. If a victim wants to be aware of all sentencing or court hearings they [Place comma before this word if this is the end of the introductory phrase (beginning with “If”)] must submit a written request to the district attorney’s office.
If their case has become a cold case they [Place comma before this word if this is the end of the introductory phrase (beginning with “If”)] are responsible for notifying the agency in writing to receive status updates. If the victim wants to know when the offender will be released [Passive voice] or has been arrested or convicted of another crime they must notify the appropriate agency and request the information. Several laws have been passed [Passive voice] over the last thirty [Express numbers higher than nine in digits (when not the first word in the sentence)] years to improve victims’ rights.
Just a few laws that have been passed [Passive voice] after victims’ are: Megan’s law, Marsy’s law, Mathew Shepard Act. These are just a few laws that were [Clearer writing suggestion–see if the sentence can be rewritten to remove “that were” or “who were”] passed [Passive voice] after they were victims of a crime. It is unfortunate that laws were passed [Passive voice] after the loss of the innocent. Why does it take tragedy to create a new law and safer procedures? Unless in a quote, avoid rhetorical questions in academic writing] Crimes are going to [Wordiness: These words mean simply “will”] happen no matter how law enforcement agencies try to protect us. However, it is important that if you [second person] are a victim of a crime you [second person] know the resources available out there [Avoid using “out there”; it is a slang term and vague] to help you [second person] and make the horrible process easier. Being a victim of a crime is a very lonely place to be. I have been a victim of a crime.
Not only was it an embarrassing event in my life, but also one that will never be forgotten. [Passive voice] I can say that justice was served [Passive voice] but to this day I am still living with the aftermath. The crime committed on me was a domestic violence crime, committed by my x-husband. Unfortunately [Insert comma after this introductory word or phrase] even if you take the right steps to ensure your safety and your children, the law cannot protect you from another ones determination. I had a restraining order that was violated [Passive voice] and resulted in felony strangulation.
My x-husband spent only 6 [Write out numbers under 10] months in jail and was given [Passive voice] four years probation. To me, this seems unfair but the system has laws and guidelines that they must abide. I understood my rights and I was fortunate enough to have an advocate that answered my questions, and provided me with the resources that were available. I was fortunate that with my educational background I knew how the justice system worked, but so many do not. Being a victim of a crime is a lonely place to be. References http://www. lni. wa. ov/claimsins/crimevictims/ http://www. findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_20100426//ai_n53293369 www. larimer. org www. mdcrimevictims. org www. victimlaw. info Rubric| Possible| Actual| Comments| CONTENT/DEVELOPMENT| 50%| 40. 00%| | Subject Matter| 40%| 32. 00%| | Assignment objectives: Research the issue and assess its past, present and future implications as they relate to the Criminal Justice System. You are an “expert” in the field and the local Chief of Police, Prosecuting Attorney and/or Correctional Director has hired you to consult with them.
Write your assessment of the past history and present circumstances of the issue you selected. Include your predictions and recommendation of how this issue should be addressed by the police and/or prosecutor in the future. This paper should be 8 pages (maximum). Remember all factual material must be properly referenced throughout the text and at the end of the text. When using five words or more from a text, you must use quotation marks. The format of the paper and references must follow the most recent edition of APA. 15%| 13%| Not bad…The assignment is met but you need to clean up the mechanics. | Content is comprehensive/accurate/persuasive. | 5%| 5%| | Displays an understanding of relevant theory. | 5%| 5%| | Major points supported by specific details/examples. | 5%| 5%| | Research is adequate/timely. | 5%| 1%| I cannot tell. Where is your researched documented? | Writer has gone beyond textbook for resources. | 5%| 3%| | | | | | High-Order of Thinking| 10%| 8. 00%| | Writer compares/contrasts/integrates theory/subject matter with work environment/experience. 5%| 4. 00%| | At an appropriate level, the writer analyzes and synthesizes theory/practice to develop new ideas and ways of conceptualizing and performing. | 5%| 4. 00%| | | | | | ORGANIZATION| 20%| 19%| | The introduction provides a sufficient background on the topic and previews major points. | 4%| 3. 00%| Could be better| Central theme/purpose is immediately clear. | 4%| 4. 00%| Good job…| Structure is clear, logical, and easy to follow. | 4%| 4. 00%| Good job…| Subsequent sections develop/support the central theme. | 4%| 4. 0%| | Conclusion/recommendations follow logically from the body of the paper. | 4%| 4. 00%| Good conclusion| | | | | STYLE/MECHANICS| 30%| 19%| | Format| 10%| 3%| | Citations/reference page follow guidelines. | 3%| 0. 00%| This is NOT an APA reference page…. who are the authors, dates contributed? Date retrieved, year written? | Properly cites ideas/info from other sources. | 3%| 0. 00%| For every reference there must be an in-text citation. Where and how are you using the information from your references. | Paper is laid out effectively–uses, heading and other reader-friendly tools. 2%| 1. 00%| | Paper is neat/shows attention to detail. | 2%| 2. 00%| | | | | | Grammar/Punctuation/Spelling| 10%| 7%| | Rules of grammar, usage, punctuation are followed. | 5%| 4. 00%| | Spelling is correct. | 5%| 3. 00%| There should NEVER be a misspelling in a formal academic assignment. | | | | | Readability/Style| 10%| 9%| | Sentences are complete, clear, and concise. | 2%| 1. 00%| | Sentences are well-constructed with consistently strong, varied structure. | 2%| 2. 00%| | Transitions between sentences/paragraphs/sections help maintain