Debts to Society and Crime Victims

In the twentieth century, the U.S. Supreme Court greatly developed criminal constitutional rights favoring the accused. A backlash ensued, and the campaign for victims’ rights followed. Advocates for crime victims supported increased incarceration by encouraging three-strikes habitual offender and mandatory sentence legislation. This was a good attempt to refocus upon people other than the offenders. Some believe victims’ rights went too far by putting too many people in prison. In actuality, victims’ rights did not go far enough. Prison labor to pay restitution is rarely allowed, required or encouraged by the laws, special interest groups and systems in place. The way to serve a determinate sentence (i.e. one for a set term of years) in prison is to wait. While prisoners kill time, prisons deprive most prisoners of a major part of life, namely work, while prisons also deprive victims and the state of the benefit of the prisoner’s labor. … Read More