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5 Law & Hum. Behav. 1 (1981)

handle is hein.journals/lwhmbv5 and id is 1 raw text is: Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1981

Consequences of Restitution'
Thomas I. Miller*
A group of 419 adult property offenders granted probation and ordered to repay their victims for the direct
monetary losses or property damage incurred as a result of their crime were matched on 28 variables to a
group of 179 offenders who were not ordered to pay restitution to their victims. Compared to those not
ordered to repay their victims, the offenders ordered to pay restitution had a more difficult probation ex-
perience, having more revocations filed against them and showing a greater frequency of reporting, physical
health, and money problems. No difference in arrest rate or time on probation was discovered. Those
offenders ordered to pay restitution but who did not pay in full had the greatest problems of all, showing the
highest revocation filing and actual revocation rate, rate of convictions, and time served. Payment
characteristics were described for offenders who paid all, part, or none of their restitution debt by
probation's end. It was suggested that closer probation officer scrutiny of offenders ordered to pay restitu-
tion may have accounted for the more difficult experience of the restitution group and that cost of ad-
ministration of restitution programs may not be worth the benefits.
Official policy mandating restitution payments by an offender to his crime victim is
documentably popular if not effective criminal justice. As a condition of probation,
the restitution order has enjoyed a long history in many jurisdictions around the coun-
try. A noted author on the subject has written . . . provision for restitution appears in
the criminal statutes of almost every state (p. 217, Harland, 1978). In a survey by the
Institute for Policy Analysis it was estimated that restitution was ordered in 86% of
juvenile courts (Hudson and Chesney, 1978). Official support has been given to
restitution by the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and
`This research was funded in part by grant No. 76-ED-99-0027 from the Law Enforcement Assistance Ad-
ministration. Special thanks are given the directors of Denver District Court Probation, without whose
permission to enter the probation archives, and without whose day-to-day cooperation, this study would
have been impossible.
*Department of Human Resources Development, City of Boulder, Colorado.
0147-7307/81/0300-0001$03.00/0 © 1981 Plenum Publishing Corporation

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