Issues related to the activities of the court officer attract a considerable interest of the citizens. However, this is not accidentally, as their responsibilities and powers are very diverse. Usually, the citizens do not form a correct idea about the court officers. Therefore, when interviewing the woman, who has worked in the Criminal Justice System as a court officer, the first question was regarding her job requirements and responsibilities.
The interviewee began with the statement that “the court officers are officials working in the public service. Depending on the nature of the duties performed, they are divided into those who ensure the proper activity of the courts and actors who perform the judicial acts and the acts of other organs. The first ones ensure the safety of the judges in the courts, jurors, trial participants and witnesses. They also follow the orders of the court president and perform the other duties relating to compliance with the maintenance of the court order”.
Besides, they implement the decisions of the court and the judge on the application of the defendant or other persons of procedural enforcement, ensure the maintenance of the courthouse and court premises during the working hours, check the preparation of the court facilities for the meeting, as well as ensure the presence of the persons who refuse to appear in the court, etc.
The woman focused attention on the fact that in the process of enforcement judicial acts and acts of other authorities under the Federal Law, the court officer implements a timely, full and proper performance of the executive documents. He also provides the parties or their representatives’ opportunity to examine the materials of the enforcement proceedings.
Moreover, the court officer should consider the statements of the parties regarding the enforcement proceedings and their applications, make appropriate decisions, and explain the terms and procedure of appeal. He must also take the rejection in his interest in the enforcement proceedings or other circumstances, which give the reasons to doubt his impartiality.
Then I asked about the rights of the court officer. She answered that she could receive the necessary information during the commission of executive actions, explanations and information, control and carry out checks on the enforcement documents working on their debtors and financial records of the execution of these documents. She also had to provide individuals and organizations involved in the enforcement proceedings orders with fulfillment of specific executive actions.
I also asked her to tell about the rules or penalties and alternative measures concerning deprivation of liberty of female offenders, including pre-trial stage of the proceedings, sentencing and post-sentencing in the criminal justice process. She replied that “these rules incorporate gender sensitive policy, which provides options for the replacement of the criminal penalty of deprivation of liberty to other types of correctional treatment. The rules also incorporate the alternatives to custody pending trial and punishment by the court with the history of victimization of women offenders as well as responsibilities for their special care”.
Talking about adherence to particular theories on victimization and offending, the interviewee stated that “understanding of any human behavior, including criminal, is not possible without a deep penetration into the person’s psychology and without the knowledge of psychological mechanisms and motives of social and psychological phenomena and processes”.
I asked the woman about the differences between female and male offenders and their specific features. She answered that “the majority of the female offenders compared to the male offenders possess less antisocial setting, and they have no permanent criminal convictions. Despite the fact that their social and psychological adaptation is broken, there are no deep defects. Of course, this does not concern the recidivists that have lost their positive social contacts log ago and became the disadvantaged individuals. Analysis of the psychological specifics of these women leads to the conclusion that many of them have mental abnormalities and disorders, including aging ones”.
It is known that women's psychology is characterized by such quality as a desire to attract attention. The interviewee claimed that “this sort of demonstrativeness is also inherent in the female criminals, but they have it in the form of aggressive criminal manifestations, which function as a self-affirmation. The need for self-assertion is one of the strongest incentives of the human behavior. The female offenders become obsessed with this feature, which significantly affects their way of life. Moreover, this is not just the desire to please men, look better than other women, or the need for confirmation. It is rather a desire to fix their existence and place in life”.
In contrast to the male offenders, the female offenders usually suffer from the sense of guilt, concern about the future. They are also characterized by an increased anxiety and emotional vulnerability. In general, criminal behavior of women is characterized by impulsiveness, while men are more characterized by consistency. There are many women among the criminals who have neurotic disorders or anxiety-depressive state.
The interviewee also talked about specific aspects that regulate the status of women in the criminal justice system. According to her assumption, “they aim to provide an opportunity for the fulfillment of women parental responsibilities. She recalled some of them. Firstly, not every woman can be sentenced to death. Sentencing may be postponed, subsequently reduced or cancelled for pregnant women or women with children under 14. Such a measure is valid in all cases except sentencing to imprisonment for a term exceeding five years for serious and very serious crimes against a person. Pregnant women and women with young children are serving a sentence in a penal colony, except those sentenced to more than five years for serious and very serious crimes against a person. However, the court may also extend the sentence until the child reaches the age of fourteen”.
Overall, talking about my reflection concerning the interview, I aimed at conducting a more formal interview. However, it was not just a preplanned conversation. I kept my usual style of communication, which created a friendly atmosphere and enabled the interviewee to respond openly and express her thoughts during the whole talk.
The woman was very interested in answering the questions. The principle of spontaneity of speech flow without my special intervention was maintained in the course of the interview. I also adhered to the principle of minimum required impact. I applied a reception of two seconds of silence and approved her answers with a nod and a concerned look. It could also serve as a support and positive motivation of my respondent. The questions were constructed in a way that did not require an additional effort to enhance the response. Each question helped to understand the point of view of the respondent, so I was not asking specifying or clarifying questions.
In general, it should be mentioned that the process of interviewing was extremely interesting and, despite the fact that it required a great concentration and focus for a proper understanding and interpretation of the thoughts of the respondent, I felt the pleasure of communicating with this woman. I absolutely realized and comprehended her unique experience.
The particular feature of her talk, which has drawn my attention, concerned her incomplete, truncated phrases and sentences. Another feature was quite frequent use of the phrases “that is” (meaning that the conversation was casual and that the respondent consistently expressed her opinions) and “you know” (interpretation of the desire of the respondent to make her words understandable and correctly interpreted; friendly relations of cooperation and trust between the interviewer and the respondent).