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In Whose Name? Crime Victim Policy and the Punishing Power of Protection

From: NWSA Journal
Volume 17, Number 3, Fall 2005
pp. 1-17 | 10.1353/nwsa.2005.0076


This essay analyzes crime policies enacted on behalf of, and often named for, particular victims of crime. This article argues that this naming reinforces a persistent and troubling image of the crime victim as young, white, female, and middle class. This image of victimization has so dominated and distorted discourse about crime in the United States that it is almost impossible to recognize and even harder to discuss how punishing these policies are not only for those accused and convicted of crime, but for most crime victims as well. As this essay argues, these crime victim policies often harm the very people they are supposed to protect.

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