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This important new book on criminology is a major attempt to evaluate actual victim compensation programs as well as their political and economic contexts, through the eyes of the victims themselves.
Elias traces the experiences of violent-crime victims throughout the entire criminal justice process, comparing New York’s and New Jersey’s victim compensation programs. He shows how programs differ when compensation is viewed essentially as welfare and when it is viewed as a right. The study uses extensive interviews with officials and with violent crime victims.
The study indicates victim compensation programs largely fail to achieve their stated goals of improving attitudes toward the criminal-justice system and the government. The programs produce poor attitudes toward government and criminal justice.
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Robert Elias is assistant professor of political science, Tufts University. He was previously assistant professor of government and criminal justice, University of Maryland, and has written several articles on victimology.
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