The present procedural system provides a good balance between the suspect andthe victim, giving the victim a chance to participate in and influence the trial.From an international perspective, it seems important to discuss these Swedishreforms and experiences. However, good procedural rules and regulationsguarantee neither an adequate response to the needs of the victim of crime,nor a high quality of justice. To be able to accomplish these aims requiresknowledge
which is often to be found within the behavioural sciences
about the consequences of a crime for its victim. This is the mission and task fortherapeutic jurisprudence.
1 What is therapeutic jurisprudence?
can be defined as
the use of social science to study the extent to which a legal rule or practice promotes the psychological andphysical well-being of the people it affects
. (1) This definition may give theimpression that TJ is a form of sociology studies or at least an instrument forempirical research. That impression is misleading: the main focus of TJ is onlegal practice, although the analysis of that practice can lead to the conclusionthat the law is not functioning as it ought, and should be changed. From that point of view TJ can be considered
a legal ideology.
If society creates laws andpractices that make the situation worse for all affected persons, this is a societalfailure.A TJ-lawyer uses this ideology, this approach to legal situations, as a comple-mentary working tool (2). The idea is that
lawyers have to use the theories and findings of social sciences that improve legal practice.
As legal conflicts always havesocial implications, a good lawyer needs a broader perspective than just the legaleffects of that conflict. By studying socio-psychological aspects, i.e. how laws andlegal practices influence the lives of citizens and, in particular, of individualsinvolved in legal processes, a lawyer can avoid future mistakes. In a macro-perspective, TJ can be used to evaluate whether a certain law fulfils its purposes or,instead, functions in a counter-productive way. On an individual level, lawyers
through a more holistic approach to problems
can try to minimise the damagecaused by a conflict. The purpose of a trial should not just be to solve the actualconflict, but should also be to solve the human and social problemsthat created theconflict (3). By analysing the underlying problems, and by choosing long-termsolutions, it might be possible to prevent the occurrence of new conflicts andproblems.In short, TJ signifies a broader and deeper approach than the traditional, moreinstrumental, way of solving legal conflicts; social elements represent a wider
progression in forensic psychiatry