The “discovery” of victims' rights marks one of the most significant events in the recent history of criminal law, both in the United States and in other Western countries. The responses to this discovery, however, have differed widely. In the United States, the “victims' rights movement” has pursued a vigorous program of repressive criminal policies, designed to advance victims' rights by curtailing offenders' rights and preventing victimization in the first place through the widespread use of harsh incapacitating penalties, including recidivist statutes and even capital punishment. By contrast, in other Western countries and particularly in continental Europe, the implementation of victims' rights has been associated with the exploration of alternative sanctions, including victimoffender mediation, restitution, and compensation. In Germany, for instance, legislators have reformed the ...

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