Victims Rights

Supporting Argument 8. Victims have the right to involvement in the outlining of goals for the incarcerated person.

Our current criminal justice system takes an adversarial approach to dealing with the issue of crime.  This approach that transforms the human beings involved into combatants that are at odds with each other and pits them against one another in a fight to determine who wins.  In this system, crime is regarded as a violation of a law.  The prosecution of these cases are not depicted as the victim versus the accused defendant, but rather the “State of Illinois” v. the accused.

Crime is more than just a violation of a law.  It is a harm done to someone, sometimes to many people, and in many instances, a physical harm.  People who have been harmed by crime have needs – real needs that are not necessarily provided for through a prosecutor’s demands for justice in the form of a long prison sentence.  The current adversarial approach to dealing with crime often silences the voices and hides the faces and stories of those actually harmed by crime.  By ensuring that victims have a say in what the accused must accomplish before being paroled, we give them a meaningful voice in the process and shift the focus of the criminal justice system back to the people who it should always be on.

~Written by Howard Keller
Howard was incarcerated at age 21, and his release is set for 2055 at age 77.

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