Ask America Inc. Oakland, California 94661 firstname.lastname@example.org 510-338-0000
Should convicts compensate their victims?
OK, this is an argument I've had with a friend for a while. I say that if someone has been convicted of a crime (and it's a case where it's super obvious that they actually did the crime and didn't get railroaded by the justice system), that person should be made to compensate the victim or the lawyers could negotiate a deal where the sentence can be reduced if the convict pays back part or all of the money that they cost the victim in terms of property damage, medical bills, lost wages, etc. My friend disagrees with me and says that being sentenced to jail is enough, but my take on that idea is that throwing convicts in jail with no allowance being made for alternatives that might be more fair and just to all parties concerned is something that requires zero thought, does nothing to put victims back to rights, and costs taxpayer dollars.
My take on this issue is that convicts who have committed crimes that involve property damage or personal injury to their victims are often impoverished as it is and making them pay back their victims would put them in an even deeper hole. A system that reduces sentences if convicts pay back their victims would favor those who are more financially secure and can afford it. Yes, the justice should be reformed and more caring about the rights of victims, but jail sentences across the board will at least make things more equal and fair across all income levels.