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CRJ 403
Sep 29, 2023
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What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of victim compensation in general? Why is this such a controversial topic? Restitution, most commonly in the form of financial compensation paid to the victim that has suffered injuries due to the criminal act the defendant committed. Restitution is a concept that has been around for a long time, even as far back as 1790 B.C. "The code of Hammurabi... included provisions for payment of money to the victim or the victim's family" (Wallace & Roberson, 2018). It wasn't until the 1980s though when restitution shifted to being viewed as "protecting victims from suffering financial hardship rather than punishing or rehabilitating the offender" (Wallace & Roberson, 2018). Despite what the reason might be for the issuance of restitution it is controversial and contains advantages and disadvantages. Advantages of restitution may include the reasons behind why it is deemed necessary for the victim to receive compensation as a direct result of the defendants' actions. That includes making the defendant aware of the hardships they cause to the victim such as the financial consequences, to hold the defendant accountable, to assist the victim financially and emotionally despite not being able to rewrite a wrong, and to serve as another version of a punishment. In short, most of the advantages of restitution lye in a way to penalize the defendant for the damages their actions caused to the victim. A way to help heal the victim by providing not just financial help but to help their peace of mind by giving the defendant consequences. Disadvantages of restitution on the other hand are more administrative and due to socioeconomic status of the perpetrator. The administrative disadvantages are mainly in the process in which restitution is achieved through, since more than one agency is in charge of the processing to receive the funds and distribute them, it could cause more headache to the victim. A system made to support and give support to the victim actually causing them more problems on top of the traumatization of what they have already been through is definaitly not right and is definaitly a disadvantage. Another disadvantage could be in the determination of dispersion of the compensation, for example if there are multiple victims deciding which is entitled to how much of the compensation. Then there are the disadvantages that are more on the defendant side which is mainly due to their socioeconomic status and not being able to afford to pay for the restitution. Even if the defendant is incarcerated and being punished, if they owe restitution, it will follow them through the correctional system taking from the very
little money that they receive. It is not guaranteed that an inmate even gets a job but when they do they receive way below minimum wage and then for a percentage on top of that getting taken out, leaves them with next to nothing for necessities that are needed but not given to them. For instance, say it is winter, the only way that an inmate can get thermals to keep warm is through purchasing it or a family member purchasing it, if they have no family, then it is reliant on them. That means after making little and having money taken away, they could have to work weeks or months to achieve warm clothing to stay warm. So, the punishment of restitution then creates even more punishment, and one that some may argue should not be a part of the consequences of restitution. Restitution that follows them to corrections also takes from family member that try to support their loved ones, causing their loved one's financial hardships. This is because if a inmate owes restitution and a family member wants them to receive $100 to purchase the items they may need then they would have to send them $200 because fifty percent of family members donations to their loved ones automatically gets half taken to go towards restitution. It is a huge argument that the punishment in those lands more on the family members then the defendant. Though many of the reasons for advantages and even more so disadvantages are the reasons for such controversy. What is the price to make up for a victim suffering? Is prison enough of a punishment or making a prisoner have to pay for restitution while still incarcerated a fair consequence even when it affects not just them but family members? All reasons that could go either way and what creates the controversy. What are the four stages of physical injury? How do they differ from each other? Being a victim can cause someone many different kinds of short term and long-term trauma. The type of trauma that a victim experiences changes depending on the type of crime that they fell victim too and the situation they were involved in. One of the types of traumas that a victim may experience is in the physical form which breaks down into four different classifications. The first classification is that of immediate injuries "include bruises, contusions, cuts, and broken bones" (Wallace & Roberson, 2018). Injuries that regardless of being a victim can easily happen to anyone of us from a simple fall or accident. These injuries have a tendency to not have a lasting effect and heal in a faster fashion. The second characteristic of physical injury are those that leave visible scars. "Including those that result in facial scars; loss of teeth; loss of fingers or toes; scars on the neck, arms, or legs; and loss of mobility due to incomplete healing" (Wallace & Roberson, 2018). Injuries that are more tragic and cause permanent damage compared
to the first classification. These types of injuries leave a visible reminder to the victim of what they experienced. The third classification is unknown long- term physical injuries which "can include a potential exposure to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)" (Wallace & Roberson, 2018). A type a injury that changes an individuals life forever weather that means death or having a life changing disease that is not curable, changing one's life indefinitely. The fourth and final characteristic is long-term catastrophic injuries "including those that restrict a victim's physical movements" (Wallace & Roberson, 2018). These types of physical injuries are the most severe and can affect more than just the victim's life by resulting in family members having to maneuver their lives to help and care for the victim. Other aspects of this category could include a shortened life span or their quality of life changing. Though there are four different characteristics of physical injuries that any victim of any type of crime can experience it doesn't mean that they are limited to just one category. A victim may experience many different physical injuries that may include just a single category, two categories, or even in severe cases may include all four categories. It is possible that if the crime that a victim was involved in could potentially consist of circumstances that exposed them to the possibility of being affected by all four of these categories. Many victims experience something called Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that one can develop after being in a traumatic event. Though this is not a physical injury, its repeated cycles of stress can cause physical harm on someone's body in the sense of wear and tear that it causes. This phenomenon stats with a type of regulation called 'Allostatic Load' which is "the effects of stress on the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA) and the automatic nervous system" (McFarlane, 203). Just to show that people who have become victims to horrible crimes can experience a wide range of physical injuries, some instant and obvious; some that have lasting effects; and even some that won't show up until later in life from being so traumatized by the events of being victimized. McFARLANE, A. C. (2013). The long-term costs of traumatic stress: Intertwined physical and psychological consequences. World Psychiatry , 9 (1), 3-10. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2051- 5545.2010.tb00254.x Wallace, H. & Roberson, C. (2018). Victimology: Legal, psychological, and social perspectives. 5th edition. Pearson publishing. ISBN-13:978-0-13-486826-4
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