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Calculating the damage to be restored: Lessons from the national survey of crime severity

Weitekamp, Elmar G. M
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) In Support for crime victims in a comparative perspective, ed. Ezzat Fattah and Tony Peters, 219-228. A collection of essays dedicated to the memory of Prof. Frederic McClintock. With a preface by Ezzat Fattah and Tony Peters. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press.

Weitekamp surveys key points in the history of compensation in response to offenses: its prevalence in earlier societies; its eclipse in the modern era; the emergence of restorative justice in the 1970s and efforts to reintroduce restitution, victim-offender reconciliation and other restorative programs; difficulties and shortcomings in the implementation of such programs; and yet attempts to apply such programs to more problematic criminal offenses. Serious objections have been raised against this potential extension of restorative justice programs. One key argument is the difficulty in reckoning the amount of damage and consequently the amount of compensation with respect to serious, violent offenses. Therefore, the viability of applying restorative justice programs to serious, violent offenses is a crucial issue. Yet crime severity studies have not been discussed in this context. Hence, Weitekamp provides a detailed discussion of the development and results of crime severity studies, with particular reference to the Sellin-Wolfgang Index for scaling the severity of offenses. From this Weitekamp advances the idea that the National Survey of Crime Severity (United States) resulted in monetary rankings of the severity of crimes, and that these results could be used to establish restorative programs (such as restitution, and victim-offender mediation) for violent crimes.


AbstractCourtsPost-Conflict ReconciliationPrisonsRestitutionRJ OfficeStatutes and LegislationVictim SupportViolent
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