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Reducing the Harm of Criminal Victimization: The Role of Restitution

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Restitution is a court-ordered payment by offenders to their victims to cover the victims' economic losses resulting from the crime. These losses can be substantial and can harm victims and victims' families both directly and indirectly. But most victims do not receive reparation for their injuries, both because judges do not always impose restitution and because of problems with collecting restitution payments, even if there is a court order to do so. In this article, we review the literature on restitution and suggest that this compensatory mechanism is necessary to restore victims to where they were before the crime occurred. But monetary restitution alone is not sufficient. Making victims whole requires not only financial compensation from the offender but also procedural, informational, and interpersonal justice from the criminal justice system.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2015

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