NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 20, 1995

In some parts of the country, juvenile offenders are being required to compensate the victims of their crimes. The programs are called "juvenile restitution." In some cases youths make payments to victims directly, while in others they are ordered to participate in community service programs to earn money to make the payments.

Although all states currently allow local courts to order restitution, few actually do so.

  • There are currently only 400 to 500 such programs across the country.
  • Of the 3,000 juvenile court jurisdictions, 85% lack such programs.

However, the programs that do operate report some successes:

  • Utah last year returned $700,000 to victims through restitution.
  • Several counties in Florida operate highly successful "Project Payback" programs.
  • One county in Georgia reports a 27% drop in recidivism among the restitution group in comparison with probationers.

Source: David B. Stires, "Beyond Crime and Punishment - Restitution," Wall Street Journal, September 20, 1995.


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