Erin O'Connor

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Law and Contemporary Problems

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In this article we propose changing the manner in which control rights over criminal sanctions are distributed. This modest change has the potential to increase victim well-being without interfering with social needs. Specif ically, victims should have the right to determine whether an off ender will serve the last ten to twenty percent of his prison term. The control right can do more than help restore a sense of victim empowerment: it will likely encourage voluntary victim- offender mediation (VOM), which has been demonstrated to assist the emotional healing process f or victims while perhaps decreasing recidivism rates. Section II of this article briefly describes both recent victims' rights reform efforts and the recent rise in the use of VOM . Section III describes the proposal involving the distribution of control rights and possible objections to it.

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