- Showing 4 posts filed under: Region: Europe [–] published between Jun 01, 2011 and Jun 30, 2011 [Show all]
Mediation in penal case reconciliation
reviewed by Martin Wright
The idea of retribution for wrongdoing is deeply ingrained, and its extreme form is the blood feud or revenge killing. Professor Elezi describes the long struggle to eliminate it in one country. A Western reader, on learning that there are still blood feuds in parts of Albania, may dismiss them as a relic from more primitive times; but perhaps it is worth reflecting that the principle is still at work among gangs in our big cities and, some would say, in civil wars and international conflicts. So it is interesting to see how it has been tackled in Albania.
Netherlands child protection law grants families the right to make a plan
On March 15, 2011, the Netherlands Parliament voted unanimously to amend the Child Protection Act. The Act now grants parents or guardians of a child the right to meet with family and other involved friends or close family supporters to make their own plan regarding how to care for a child of concern. The right to meet and make a plan for a child comes as a first recourse before the state and courts are permitted to intervene.
Exercising Discretion: The Gateway to Justice
In 2009, 38 per cent of the 1.29 million offences ‘solved’ by police were dealt with outside of the court system. We found that the use of out-of-court disposals has evolved in a piecemeal and largely uncontrolled way. An earlier public survey conducted on behalf of HMIC confirmed general public support for giving first-time offenders a second chance – which out-of-court options certainly offer; but this public support ebbs away when they are used for persistent offenders. Our work also suggested that victim satisfaction is high when offenders take part in RJ approaches. RJ, used appropriately, may also reduce re-offending.
Ken Clarke was right to start a debate about sentencing in rape cases
Justice for rape victims does not simply equate to long prison sentences. The Victims' Champion (pdf), Sara Payne, has urged us to reconsider our definition of justice, so it is "not just punishing a perpetrator and preventing further crimes". She suggested that an offender who pleaded guilty on the day of trial should not gain a discount, but that incentives for an early plea of guilt should be investigated. A 2009 academic study (pdf) on rape and the legal process also recommended looking at ways to encourage early admissions.
Further support for this approach can be found in the Stern Review (pdf) into how rape complaints are handled, which the government has said it endorses in full. Lady Stern found that securing a conviction and punishment is important for victims, but so is simply being believed. She advocated policies which "honour the experience" of rape, with victims feeling that their experience has been understood, its effects acknowledged and holistic support offered.