While crime has been declining for two decades, 1 in 14 Americans experienced a property crime and 1 in 40 a violent crime during 2012. To pay tribute to victims and survivors, the federal government has designated April 6 to 12, 2014 as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
This is a time to turn our attention to the true consumers of the corrections system – those who have been personally wronged by an offender. Too often, rather than focusing on empowering victims and ensuring they receive restitution, the process emphasizes an offender’s “debt to society,” often in the form of fines and fees that go into the government’s coffers. This fixation on the prerogatives of the government has too often marginalized the rights and voices of victims.