Victims suffer staggering economic costs as a result of crime. The tangible cost of crime, including medical expenses, lost earnings, and public victim assistance costs, is an estimated $105 billion a year.1 Crime victim compensation programs reimburse victims for part of this loss. During fiscal year 1998, state compensation programs paid close to $250 million to victims of violent crime.2 However, most of the costs of crime are absorbed by the victims and victim service providers.
Restitution laws are designed to shift the burden. As one legislature
noted, It is the purpose of [restitution law] to encourage the compensation
of victims by the person most responsible for the loss incurred by the
victim, the offender.3