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NCJ Number: 73010 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Restitution - A Sanction for All Seasons
Author(s): T L Armstrong
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 26
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines the argument to restrict the use of restitution to property offenders and explores factors which suggest that restitution may be well suited for use with certain juvenile offenders adjudicated for crimes against persons.
Abstract: Arguments to restrict restitution to property offenders usually assume two forms: namely, that all offenders who have committed crimes against persons are too dangerous for inclusion in restitution programs and that too much uncertainty and confusion surround any attempts to affix a monetary value to crimes entailing pain and suffering. In response to the former argument, it is suggested that only after reviewing the youth's entire offense histories, the circumstances surrounding their involvement with the justice system, and their level of resistance to rehabilitation, should the final decision be made about appropriateness for referral to a restitution program. Moreover, it has been found that the vast majority of juveniles who have committed crimes against persons are never again charged with a violent crime. The dilemma of affixing a monetary value to crimes entailing pain and suffering can be dealt with in several ways. Some solutions include unliquidated damages and an index for obtaining gravity measures of physical injury. A rationale for implementing restitution can be found in Western European history. Medieval systems of compositions in which parts of the human body were assigned compensable values, served as remedies for acts of physical violence against persons. Following the decline of feudalism, a single, centralized authority came to monopolize punishment, and criminal transgressions came to be viewed largely as offenses against this power. In the crosscultural context of non-western society, reparational schemes were vital in preventing the outbreak of blood vengeance. An OJJDP discretionary grant program (February, 1978) has chosen a target population of youth who have been adjudicated for felonies or are chronic recidivists and developed a seriousness scale for both property and personal crimes. Serious personal crimes include all adjudications for unarmed robberies and nonaggravated assaults with losses of $250 or less. Very serious personal crimes cause losses exceeding $250 and include personal crimes such as nonnegligent homicide, rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault. An offense seriousness scale and 39 footnotes are appended. (Author abstract modified).
Index Term(s): Offender classification; Offense classification; Restitution programs; Victim compensation
Note: Paper presented at the Fourth Symposium on Restitution and Community Service Sentencing, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 24-26, 1980.
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