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Social Theory and Practice


published on April 2, 2020

Richard L. Lippke

Retributivism and Victim Compensation

Given the desert-centric character of retributive penal theory, it seems odd that its supporters rarely discuss the undeserved losses and suffering of crime victims and the state’s role in responding to them. This asymmetry in the desert-focus of retributive penal theory is examined and the likely arguments in support of it are found wanting. Particular attention is paid to the claim that offenders, rather than the state, should supply compensation to victims. Also, standard retributive accounts of why the deserving should be punished are shown to support state-supplied victim compensation.

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