Back to RJ Archive

Restitution as an objective of the criminal justice system

Benson, Bruce L.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) Journal of the James Madison Institute (Winter), 17-22.

Benson begins his consideration of restitution with three points: (1) justice demands that, when a crime occurs, action be taken to reflect the negative consequences of the resulting harm back upon the perpetrator of the crime; (2) imprisonment reflects negative consequences onto taxpayers, who have to pay for a correctional system; and (3) punishment such as imprisonment fails to deflect or remedy negative consequences befalling the victim. The better way to deal with crime, according to Benson, is restitution to the victim. To argue his case, he sketches the history of restitution in the West, the current practice of criminal restitution in Japan, restitution in America, and “privatizationâ€? (as against government “ownershipâ€?) of much of criminal justice.


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now