There is an assumption that justice means punishment for someone who has done something wrong: a crime happens, law enforcement finds out who did it, the courts hand down a sentence, and the crime victim is healed.
But we know from our work with crime survivors over the last decade that the reality is much more complex. Hundreds of crime survivors have told us about their many needs that have nothing to do with what happens to the person who harmed them. A new survey released by the Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) puts data behind that knowledge.
The “Crime Survivors Speak” survey reveals that 61 percent of crime victims support shorter prison sentences and more spending on prevention and rehabilitation to long prison sentences. And by a margin of 3 to 1, victims prefer holding people accountable through options beyond prison, “such as rehabilitation, mental health treatment, drug treatment, community supervision, or community service.”
The survey also found that 8 of 10 survivors experience at least one symptom of trauma in the aftermath of the incident that harmed them. Two out of three of those surveyed received no help following the incident, and those who did were far more likely to receive it from family and friends than from the justice system.
Visit ASJ’s website to read the full report, including graphics and videos outlining the survey’s findings.