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Restitution : an economically and socially desirable approach to sentencing

by James William Casson

  Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material

A scholarly publication supporting restitution in a sentencing scheme   (2013-12-10)


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by jcasson3

This publication presents a scholarly, detailed consideration of the rationale for having imprisonment used only in those cases where participation in a community restitutive program is impossible because of the dangerousness of the offender, and a restitution program should be required even while an offender is incarcerated; the States and the Federal Government should enact legislation that specifically provides for community restitution as the initial option to be considered in sentencing.

A review of the Anglo-American criminal process reveals the progressively decreasing role of the victim in case disposition, as the state has intervened in the dispositionary stage of the legal process on its own behalf. If the law is viewed as a constructive process promoting interaction among individuals, then the present criminal process must be dismantled. Restitution rather than imprisonment should become the dominant sentence. Imprisonment should be used only when it is clear that a particular offender must be incapacitated to protect the public from a high risk of harm. Even when imprisoned, however, the offender's incapacitation should be limited to the time required to accomplish the goals set for the offender. While in prison, the offender should be required to work to pay restitution to the victim as a condition of release. Restitution programs will reduce the number of persons in prison, prevent the destruction of offenders' families, help the offender assume social responsibilities, and save millions of tax dollars while compensating victims. The law should require that the sentencing court first consider offender participation in a restitution program in the community, either residential or nonresidential. The effectiveness of restitution programs is demonstrated by Georgia's experience with them, as well as similar programs in other States. A total of 106 footnotes are provided.

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