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?In the Criminal Justice System, everyone is included when it comes to exercising rights. While there has been debate upon debate about prisoners’ rights and whether they deserve them; victims and witnesses of crime have rights as well. The Crime Victims’ Rights Act was started in 1982 and is still protecting the rights of crime victims today. The legislation is extremely effective when serving victims of crime and has constitutional amendments that guarantees the rights of the victims. “In most states, a constitutional amendment must be passed by each house of the legislature by a two-thirds majority. This must usually be done at least twice, often with a legislative election between votes. Identical language must be passed each time. The amendment is then presented to the voters at a general election for ratification. Therefore, in most states the process of adopting a constitutional amendment takes several years. As a result, once crime victims’ rights are incorporated into a state’s constitution, they are likely to remain there indefinitely. In addition, giving victims’ rights constitutional protections generally makes those rights enforceable. If an official or a state agency violates a constitutional right, a court usually has the power to order that official or agency to comply with the constitution” (About Victims’ Rights, n.d.). Having rights that are supported by the state in a constitution and are enforceable ensures that a victim will be able to exercise their rights when it comes to the crime that they fell victim to or witnessed. 

?Part of exercising your victims’ rights is giving victim impact statements. A victim impact statement is a written or spoken record of how the victim was damaged when this crime occurred. It also gives them the ability to confront the offender and explain the damage they’ve caused to their face and the offender has no choice but to participate. “All 50 states allow victim impact statements at some phase of the sentencing process. Most states permit them at parole hearings, and victim impact information is generally included in the pre-sentencing report presented to the judge” (Victim Impact Statements, n.d.). Victim impact statements add value to court proceedings as well as parole hearings. Not only does it help the victim recover from the crime, it also gives them the opportunity to describe the crime that occurred in detail. This is usually the only time in court where a victim is able to recall the offense that was committed against them to the entire court as well as the defendant. 

?Victims’ rights can be a very controversial subject when debating what is most important to a victim. Every victim is different and making a generalization about the importance of information is unfair. Victims have the right to be notified of events and proceedings pertaining to their attacker. They also have the right to attend the proceedings and sue the offender or their family for money damages. Being notified of a proceeding and being able to attend it are both extremely important, however, it depends on the victim when determining the most important of the two. “The general information that criminal justice officials are often required to provide includes: notice of the availability of crime victim compensation; referrals to victim services, such as rape crisis centers, battered women’s shelters, and general victim service agencies; information about the steps involved in a criminal prosecution; and contact information for an individual within the criminal justice system. In addition, victims may also have the right to be informed of various legal rights, including the rights to: attend a proceeding and/or submit a victim impact statement; sue the offender for money damages in the civil justice system; have a court order that they be protected from the offender and/or the offender’s family and associates; and collect witness fees for their testimony, among others” (About Victims’ Rights, n.d.). Some victims may not want to see the offender ever again, so being notified about their criminal history and court proceedings is a simpler way to seek closure. Other victims may need to confront the offender in order to recover from being victimized. The importance of being notified and having the ability to attend court proceedings and even make statements is what the victim needs in order to move on. 

?Corrections personnel have key ethical responsibilities that they must follow at all times. A correctional officer has several ethical responsibilities and of these responsibilities, professionalism is most important. One professionalism example is “Our job is not to punish.” Which is part of the correctional officer’s code of ethics. Correctional officers do not have the authority to punish inmates and often times that responsibility is forgotten or disregarded. Another example of professionalism is “Legal liability issues.” Correctional officers must follow the strict regulations and schedules they are given and cannot deviate from them do to legal issues. If an officer is supposed to log an inmate’s status every fifteen minutes due to safety risks, but fails to do so, would leave the prison liable for an inmate hurting themselves due to distracted officers. Another example of professionalism is “The rules don’t apply.” Correctional officers must follow strict schedules due to security issues. If an officer feels that he does not have to follow the schedule and disregards rules, they are jeopardizing the safety and security of the prison. Remaining professional and following the code of ethics given to you as a correctional officer is the only way to ensure your safety and the security of the rest of the prison. 

 
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