Restitution for Crime

Crime, which is defined as offenses against public law and punishable under that law, is a creation of government. Many actions currently defined as crimes were illegal before the advent of criminal law, but were offenses against private law; successful prosecution resulted in victim compensation. By designating an act to be a crime, the state replaces the victim as the focal concern of the legal system, which has a number of significant ramifications. First, making the victim whole through restitution ceases to be a primary concern of the law. As a consequence of replacing restitution with retribution, victims often lose much of their incentive to seek justice and to cooperate with the legal system. Second, the legal code comes to be increasingly populated by victimless ...

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