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Victimology and Alternatives to the Traditional Justice System - Essay Example

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There are emerging questions and arguments challenging the role of traditional justice system in preventing crimes. Traditional justice has been with us for quite a long time now but considering existing imprisonment statistics, it seems that there is a need to look into other alternative approaches when dealing with crimes (Zehr, 1990; Walker, 2000)…
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Victimology and Alternatives to the Traditional Justice System
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Victimology and Alternatives to the Traditional Justice System

And these values would soon drastically increase if nothing would be done about it (Raspberry, 2003).
The current justice system is basically grounded on retributive values wherein justice determines the crime or violation, then enjoins the victim, offender and the community to reach solutions of "repair, reconciliation and assurance" (Zehr, 1990;Walker, 2000).
Anthropologist Ruth Benedict states that the emphasis of using shame or guilt to control social activities could be a way of categorizing cultures. Some Asian cultures like China and Japan are considered shame cultures in contrast to European and modern American cultures like the US which is said to be "guilt-based." To illustrate, traditional Japanese and Ancient Greek society put more importance to the social consequences of "getting caught" than the feelings of guilt of the offender ("Shame," 2006).
The violation of shared opinions and expected behaviors causing the feeling of shame has proved to be efficient in guiding society's behavior. Shame is used against relational aggression and is considered effective in marriage, family and church settings. Also, it is used in the workplace as a form of covert social control ("Shame," 2006).
Shame is considered as a pillar of punishment. ...
This overwhelming feeling could prevent a person from ever committing the same offense. Thus, on these premises, shaming is believed to be helpful in crime prevention ("Shame," 2006).


Victimology is a multi-disciplinary field covering sociology, psychology, criminal justice, law and advocacy, which identifies and explains how certain factors such as lifestyle affect the incidence of a crime. To cite an example, a "streetwalker" prostitute is very vulnerable to various risks of attacks. There is high incidence of violent crime which often is unresolved involving these people. Victimology then, in this case, may study the social background, legal status of prostitutes, living conditions and risk factors among others ("Victimology," 2006). This provides a better understanding of why crimes are committed and particularly puts some responsibility on the victim rather than simply pointing the blame to the offender. Crime is influenced by a lot of factors and the science of victimology impart the idea that a crime committed doesn't entirely revolve around the offender and his/her motives but may also be triggered by the victim.

Restorative Justice
Due to incompetence of the current justice system, restorative justice which began evolving around 15 years ago is seen as one alternative (Walker, 2000). The concept, which is presently recognized in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, is coupled with different practices like conferencing, sentencing circles and victim-offender mediation scheme. The repair of the harm caused by the crime may be achieved by holding moderated meetings with the victims, offenders and other parties affected. This practice can be used in the justice system as a ... Read More
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