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PUBLICATIONS

Victims

THE ISSUE. When a property crime or a violent crime occurs, the primary aggrieved party is the individual victim, not the government, and thus the compensation should go primarily to the individual victim, not the government.  This idea has been around for centuries, and the concept is found in the sacred texts of nearly every major religion.  In the modern world, however, we have drifted away from this essential truth.  A telling example is the “style” of criminal cases, which are written as ‘Defendant v. [The State],’ rather than ‘Defendant v. [Victim.]’  The case styles reveal that our system now focuses more on prosecuting defendants for the harm they have done to society at large, rather than the harm they have done to their victim.  It is important to pay attention to the effect crime has on society, but we must not neglect the victim’s rights.

In the investigation and prosecution of crimes, victims must be included at every stage and meaningfully empowered. Opportunities for more informal restorative practices should also be considered for non-violent first time offenses.

Informal restorative practices are not likely to displace the modern criminal justice system, due to factors such as population growth, urbanization, and the transient nature of many modern communities.  Nevertheless, a growing body of evidence indicates the benefit – to victims, taxpayers, and offenders – of integrating practices designed to empower and restore victims into today’s criminal justice process.

THE IMPACT. Mediation – in appropriate cases in which participation is voluntary both for victim and offender—offers victims an expedited means of obtaining justice in contrast with protracted pretrial proceedings, jury selection, and appeals.  A mediation agreement is ratified by the prosecutor or judge.  Failure to comply subjects the offender to traditional prosecution and, if necessary, incarceration.  Because mediation enables offenders to avoid a conviction on their record, they are often more successful in finding or retaining jobs that enable them to pay restitution.

A national study found that 95 percent of cases resolved through victim-offender mediation result in a written agreement, 90 percent of which are completed within one year, far exceeding the average restitution collection rate of 20 to 30 percent.  Furthermore, 79 percent of victims who participated in mediation were satisfied, compared with 57 percent in the traditional court system.  Also, the 1,298 juveniles who participated in mediation were 32 percent less likely to re-offend.

In addition to mediation, a greater emphasis should be placed on victims’ input throughout the criminal justice process.  The voice of the victim should be more closely considered by judges and prosecutors at every stage.

THE CONSERVATIVE SOLUTION.

• The criminal justice system should be structured to ensure that victims are treated with dignity and respect and with the choice to participate, recieve restitution, and even be reconciled with first time non-violent offenders.

• In appropriate cases, enable crime victims to choose pretrial victim-offender mediation.

• Expand victims’ access to offenders’ funds by lowering exemption thresholds that apply to restitution orders when they are converted into civil judgments.

• Use amount and share of restitution actually collected as a performance measure for probation and parole systems.

Criminal Justice Reform Emerging as a Major Issue in 2016 Presidential Election

Greg Glod | May 6, 2015
The economy, foreign affairs, and health care are all issues that we have grown accustomed to as hot button topics during the presidential cycle. Criminal justice reform on the…

Victims’ Rights are a Conservative Priority

Right on Crime | April 23, 2015
Criminal justice reform is quickly becoming a leading conservative issue across the country. Advocates for public safety, fiscal responsibility, and cost-efficiency are joining forces to improve the state and…

Restorative Justice for Veterans in Lubbock County, Texas

Right on Crime | January 31, 2015
While they have earned Americans’ respect and honor, veterans are often victim to devastating problems after their service. Tragically, chronic homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health disorders disproportionally affect those who…

Civil Asset Forfeiture Primer Shows Potential for Reform in Texas

Right on Crime | January 8, 2015
In the past week the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation had a Civil Asset Forfeiture Primer at the Capitol, where they assembled a panel…

Marc Levin: Remember and empower victims of crime

Right on Crime | April 11, 2014
While crime has been declining for two decades, 1 in 14 Americans experienced a property crime and 1 in 40 a violent crime during 2012. To pay tribute to…

“Reagan had it right: We must not forget America’s crime victims”

Right on Crime | April 10, 2014
In celebration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, ROC signatory and Director of the American Conservative Union’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform Pat Nolan, along with national crime victim advocate Anne Seymour,…

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Right on Crime | April 8, 2014
April 6-12 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Crime victims and survivors have an integral role in America’s criminal justice system and efforts to promote individual and public safety.  The…

The New York Times: “America on Probation”

Right on Crime | January 27, 2014
“Restoring common sense to sentencing is the obvious first step in downsizing prisons.” In his latest op-ed, Bill Keller of The New York Times, writes about the issue of…

Rollins: Criminal justice reform — Texas style

Right on Crime | October 7, 2013
“October is Crime Prevention Month, and I am reminded that not long ago people spoke of the “Texas Model” as a purely punitive approach to criminal justice. Decades of…

Fox News: “Conservatives join push to roll back mandatory prison sentences”

Right on Crime | September 30, 2013
Following Marc Levin’s testimony before the U.S. Judiciary Committee, this Fox News story features Right on Crime, noting that “The project has since been part of recent, successful efforts…

Vikrant P. Reddy interviewed by Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis

Right on Crime | April 11, 2013
Vikrant Reddy joined The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis today to talk about conservative ideas for criminal justice reform. They spoke about Senator Rand Paul’s speech to Howard University yesterday,…
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