The effects of victim-related contextual factors on the criminal justice system

Author(s)Haynes, Stacy Hoskins
Title The effects of victim-related contextual factors on the criminal justice system
Source Crime & Delinquency. July 2010, XX(X) p1-31
Date 2010
Document type Journal article
Coverage Pennsylvania USA
Summary This study investigates whether victim reforms have had any effect on the criminal justice system, focusing on three victim-related contextual factors: the availability of victim resources; county-level indicators of justice; and victim participation in the criminal justice system. The data for the study came primarily from sentencing information from the Pennsylvania Commission of Sentencing and census data, and data from the Uniform Crime Reports and the Pennsylvania Office of Victims' Services. An important finding from the study was that community contextual findings affected the availability of victim resources, county-level indicators of justice and victim participation in the criminal justice system. Also, it was found that while community contextual factors had little or no effect on sentencing outcomes, victim-related contextual factors proved to be significant. The implications of the findings at an individual level highlights the importance of how states allocate victim resources and show that one way to encourage victim participation is to increase justice. At the aggregate level the finding that victim-related contextual factors mattered is important because it has implications for sentencing outcomes. Suggestions for future research are included, including the need to replicate this study in other states.
Keywords Victims needs; compensation; restitution; criminal justice system; counselling; participation; sentences
Topic Victims needs; Criminal Justice System