In the victim impact statement, I strongly believe that victims should NOT have the right to be able to make a recommendation regarding the sentence. The criminal justice system in Canada is not set up as the victim vs. the offender. Roberts and Grossman (2016) argue in chapter 24, that there are “two parties in a sentencing hearing – the offender, represented by the defence counsel, and the state represented by the Crown” (p. 315). A person who violates the criminal code is committing a crime against society and it is the government, the State, and not the victim, who prosecutes and punishes the criminal.
Not only does allowing victims to make recommendations regarding the sentence make the justice system a personal instrument rather than a social institution, there would also be differences in how victims respond to crime which leads to sentencing inconsistency. As Roberts and Grossman (2016) stated victims can be “fearful or traumatized; others will only feel annoyed” (p.310). Victim sentencing could serve as an outlet for their rage, pain and a desire for justice. For example, victims who believe in punishment and retribution would want the offender maxed out and get the maximum sentence. The victims are too emotionally disturbed in the aftermath of the crime, and they should not be placed in a situation where they are unable to use their judgement but react only out of desperation and anger. Many victims might desire longer sentences than the judiciary would allow. When that desire is not satisfied, their mental/physical pain and suffering might worsen “by the actions of the criminal justice officials resulting in revictimization” (Griffiths, 2015, p.50). In contrast, some victims might believe in rehabilitation, providing the offender with the social supports they need, not wanting as much (or any) jail time or punishment. As a result, the victim may recommend a sentence that is less lenient and focused upon treatments and forgiveness. As a result, the victim might recommend a sentence that doesn’t fit the crime, based on their experiences and biases.