This idea is important to refocus and reevaluate the entire system of justice because
- In the present system just about everyone benefits except the victims. Through their taxes victims pay for the judges, pay for the police, pay for the prosecutors and often for the criminals legal representation, pay for the damage done if there is robbery etc by increased insurance costs etc. Whereas if the VICTIMS were at the heart of the system then compensation from the criminals would at least partly repay the costs involved.
- One result of putting victims at the heart of the system might be to change sentencing procedurs, for example if the role of the judiciary was limited to finding innocence or guilt and then a number of prescribed sentences were provided for the VICTIM to choose from then the victims would become more fully engaged in the process and feel that their opinions were taken into account. In other words justice was done from their, not the states, point of view. For example in simple terms where a burglary had taken place and goods worth (say) £1000 were stolen the victim could have a choice of three sentences to be imposed, such as either fully restore the value, or do a community sentence or go to jail. The conscience of the victim would be allowed to decide not the state, which of course does not have a conscience. I am sufficiently confident of the good senses of my fellow citizens that they would not always choose the harshest sentences.
- Another example of how it might work would be that the human rights of the innocent, law abiding victim would take precedence over the human rights of a convicted criminal. Presently human rights law is prescribed to all by the state which rarely, if ever, has to suffer the consequences of it’s actions.
Once you put the victim, not the criminal or the state, at the heart of the matter you start to see endless possibilities for reform. Might the victim, for example in some cases say that they don’t want a particular case to go to court, whereas in others, where currently the cps make the decision not to proceed, the victims might say they want to.