Official crime policy shifted its focus from crime and criminals to victimization and victims in the 1980s and early 1990s. As a result, crime victims were the subject of extensive new legislation addressing victim needs, rights, and services. But did these initiatives really help victims, or did they help further Reagan and Bush administration “law and order” policies for curbing offender and public rights in favor of increasing police power? And has such power escalated incidents like the Rodney King case in Los Angeles? In this controversial and thought-provoking book, Robert Elias evaluates the effectiveness of the last decade's victim policy and argues that victims have been politically manipulated for official objectives. As a result, little victim support has occurred, and victimization keeps escalating. He reaches these conclusions from a thorough examination of victim legislation, get-tough crime policies, media crime coverage, the victim movement, and the wars on crime and drugs. Finally, he proposes solutions that could lead to substantially less crime. Students and professionals of criminology, victimology, policy studies, and political science will find Victims Still an exceptionally stimulating resource. “In Victims Still, Elias demonstrates again that he is a preeminent scholar in the field of victimology. This work provides a unique, provocative, and elucidative account of the politicization of the victims' movement as well as the social and political ramifications of the ‘get tough’ crime policies and enforcement strategies of the 1980s. Dr. Elias raises serious and challenging questions about the currency of conventional responses to crime victims and offenders. Victims Still should be required reading for crime victim researchers and program practitioners. This book offers a thoughtful reconsideration of the causes of crime and violence in America. Professor Elias's solutions to the crime problem are sweeping and progressive.” --Arthur J. Lurigio, Ph.D., Loyola University of Chicago
Controlling Victimization: War or Peace?
Loose talk about war against crime too easily infuses the administration of justice with the psychology and morals of war…. The process of waging war, no matter how it is rationalized, is a process of moral deterioration.
[T]he crimes committed in the name of the state, unfortunately, have … been so great that we cannot shun the obligation to examine the grounds of its authority and subject them to rigorous critique.
We are a nation at war with ourselves: a civil war. The war of law enforcement against the forces of crime. We imagine this, however cynically, as a conflict between good and evil in which only superior firepower will ensure our security and win ...