in my jr. high public school, we had to attend drug education programs. tragically, this programming most likely promoted the use of street drugs as opposed to the intended purpose of discouraging it. the special guest lecturer was a former drug user who told us about the drug using life style. we were not presented guest lecturers of friends, family members and victims of drug users who witnessed the destructive nature of this drug use. in sum, this programming was a fail.
further, my public school education never provided any programming concerning theft and that it was wrong. where are children to be educated on such an important matter? as much as certain street drugs are illegal, so is theft. therefore, it should be considered a worthy topic to present in a public school setting.
in the american criminal law system, at the time of sentencing, some court systems allow for a “victim impact statement.” the federal department of justice, district of alaska notes that “[i]t is important for the court to know the impact this crime has had on its victims.” these statements can be done both orally and in writing. the doj notes that “[a]n oral statement at the sentencing allows the judge to hear your voice and its inflections and to put a face to the crime committed.” victim impact statements “describe the emotional, physical, and financial impact [the person] and others have suffered as a direct result of the crime.”
victims of theft may have suffered emotionally, physically and financially as a result of the act. it is proposed, as programming for schools, that statements and videos be generated from victims of theft. this programming can be used as an educational tool for youths. many of them have not been enlightened into how damaging a theft can be on an individual, a family and on a community.
question: these victim impact statements are only used when we are dealing with criminals. isn’t that too late in the system to be addressing this society problem? we need to think about using these victim impact statements as a preventative measure to prevent future crime. currently, it is sad that judges and parole boards need to have victims “voice how their lives have been impacted by the crime committed against them physically, financially, emotionally and even spiritually” cdcr. to understand their roles in dispensing justice.
a goal of the ten commandments project is to produce programming along these lines. written curriculum and perhaps videos of an educational nature as to the impact of theft on its victims. if you are interested in assisting on such a project, please feel free to email the project.
the california department of corrections lists out various items to include in these statements. this included questions for the victims to answer: “how life has changed for you and those close to you? how your ability to relate to others has changed? any counseling or other support you have obtained? fees incurred for counseling or therapy for you and your family? certain details of the crime and the offender’s actions you want the panel to know? the specific physical injuries you or members of your family have suffered?how long your injuries lasted or how long you expect them to last? any medical treatment you have received or expect to receive in the future and the medical expenses you have incurred? your inability to work and lost wages?” not all of these are relevant to theft. they, however, are quite comprehensive. statements with this information may help us reach the end goal is that educating youth to refrain from theft. this may further lead to a greater impact if peer influences become more against theft as opposed to promoting it.