SAGE Journal Articles

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LO 8-1

Victim Rights

Abstract: In the last two decades, state legislatures have greatly expanded the legal rights of crime victims. Victims have some rights under the law in all states, ranging from the right to be notified of court and parole hearings, the right to be present and express opinions at sentencing hearings, the right to be consulted about plea agreements, the right to compensation and restitution, and the right to a speedy trial. But researchers and audits have shown that many victims are not given the chance to exercise their rights. This article describes the history of victim rights legislation and then discusses recent efforts, including compliance programs and victim law clinics designed to increase compliance of criminal justice agencies charged with aiding victims in the exercise of their rights.


LO 8-2

Women Who Plead Guilty

Abstract: There is now a great deal of research evidence which shows that people admit to crimes they have not committed, whether in the form of a plea bargain or a false confession. This article considers whether there are any gender-specific factors which make it particularly likely that women will make such admissions. Evidence is gathered from interviews with 50 sentenced adult women in an English prison as well as from the existing literature. It is found that women are indeed subject to a variety of pressures — ranging from coercion and threats to family responsibilities — which make them more compliant to the suggestions of police and prosecutors. Consideration is given to whether procedural changes in the criminal justice system (such as the introduction of the ‘gender equality duty’) are likely to improve the situation. It is concluded that, despite the risk of infantilizing women, changes specific to them have a greater chance of being implemented.