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Restitution: Special Circumstances

Some groups of offenders require additional attention.

Juvenile offenders.

While the amount of restitution that can be ordered from juvenile offenders is generally capped by law at a few thousand dollars, it is important to hold them accountable for this amount. Where juvenile offenders are unable to pay restitution immediately, and they request a payment plan, they should be asked to provide information about their finances.

  • Larimer County, Colorado, has a special financial evaluation form for juveniles. It requests information about the income and expenses of the parents as well as the juvenile. It also warns parents that they may be ordered to pay restitution of up to $25,000.

One of the biggest hurdles in collecting restitution from juveniles is their lack of employment-or even lack of employability. Several jurisdictions have worked to create effective programs to help juveniles find employment, or to provide community service opportunities through which juveniles may earn money for restitution.

  • The National Center for Juvenile Justice has produced an important bulletin on meaningful community service for juvenile offenders, which can promote victim restoration while re-connecting juveniles with their communities. The bulletin includes a profile of three community service projects, including a recycling program in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, that generates its own funding. Juveniles work community service hours in the recycling program, earning funds to pay restitution.
  • Another well-regarded program, Project Payback in Florida's 8th Judicial Circuit, provides job and life-skills training while helping juveniles to earn money to pay restitution by working in the community. This program was featured in the National Center's 2010 report, "Making Restitution Real: Five Case Studies on Improving Restitution Collection." (See Chapter 4: Project Payback.)

Economic crime offenders.

Offenders whose crimes involved manipulation and fraud can pose special challenges for supervision. Colorado‘s Division of Probation Services has developed Guidelines for Probation Officers Supervising Economic Crime Offenders. This resource includes a three-phase supervision plan. It also includes a sample probation form imposing additional terms and conditions on economic crime offenders.

Collecting restitution in large, white collar crime cases can be problematic. Attaching assets preconviction can help preserve them for restitution.

States are also starting to create special funds for securities fraud restitution. Indiana provides a good example. Its Securities Restitution Fund consists of 5% of the amounts collected for the enforcement account of the securities division (which itself is comprised of certain grants and donations, costs of investigation that are recovered against defendant in securities cases, and civil penalties recovered in cases of securities violations). Read the legislation creating the Fund, a press release about the fund, a set of Frequently Asked Questions about the fund, and a claim application.

This toolkit was produced by the National Center for Victims of Crime under cooperative agreement 2009-SZ-B9-K006, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Copyright © 2011 National Center for Victims of Crime. All rights reserved.