The Law: Helping Crime's Victims

A twelve-year-old named Kenneth was playing in an alley behind his home in Chicago's West Side ghetto when another youth doused him with gasoline and threw a match at him. Terribly burned, Kenneth was rushed to a hospital where doctors worked desperately to keep him alive. His agony was only beginning: pain, scars, medical costs, loss of schooling—all combined to make him a victim many times over.

In most cities, neither the courts nor the local government pays much attention to the special needs of such victims after a crime has been committed, but Chicago has a program called Youth Victims of...