Emphasis upon victim rights and restitution was once a prominent feature of the American criminal justice system. In the 19th century, the state began to replace the role of the victim as the party damaged by criminal acts. Eventually, the victim was reduced in importance to a secondary consideration and little more than a witness in criminal cases. By the latter 20th century, sentiment and public policy began to shift to once again stress the role and rights of victims within the legal process. A range of circumstances acted in ...

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