Q:

How are victim impact statements used?

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Quick Answer

Judges in criminal cases use victim impact statements to help determine an appropriate prison sentence for an offender, according to The National Center for Victims of Crime. Parole boards use victim impact statements to help decide whether to grant a parole.

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Full Answer

A victim impact statement is an oral or written declaration by a crime victim describing the physical, emotional and financial damage caused by the defendant’s criminal actions, explains The National Center for Victims of Crime. Although the specific rules regulating the use of the statement vary by jurisdiction, all 50 states allow the use of victim impact statements during the sentencing portion of a criminal case.

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