24. Compensating Witnesses, Informants or Others Called to Participate In Trials

Informants, witnesses, or other people called to testify or who are in any way required to participate in a trial or other legal proceeding should be fully compensated by the government within 6 months for any costs associated with their participation, including verifiable lost income, such as time off from work, transportation costs, etc. Though the criminals would be required to repay the government for all these costs, waiting for them to get around to earning the money necessary to pay them would often take a long time. However, the government would have an incentive to recoup these costs. Victims, witnesses and other participants need to be encouraged to participate in the justice process and quick compensation is a necessary element of such a strategy.

However, it is often the case that when violence is so pervasive within a community, witnesses will often refuse to come forward because of intimidation and fear of reprisal attacks on them or their families. This is often known as the ‘code of silence’ within gang infested communities. Increased rewards to encourage people to come forwards is one thing that could be implemented, but that will likely get limited results.  A better partial solution would be to change the laws to allow for the prosecution of criminals either without the testimony of witnesses or with their testimony kept truly classified, under strict promises of secrecy and very severe, perhaps including the death penalty for any one on the inside who violates this trust. Perhaps such interviews need to take place at locations other than the courthouse, so that they are not suspected of cooperation by other members of their communities. However, the best solution would be to have high-resolution video cameras all over the place so that detailed enough information could be gathered during the commission of crimes to actually be useful during prosecution proceedings. Drones could fly in quickly during the right times or whatever.

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