The Imposition and Effects of Restitution in Four Pennsylvania Counties

Melissa A. Logue, Pennsylvania State University
Jennifer N. Shaffer, The Pennsylvania State University
Mindy Wilson, Pennsylvania State University
Kim Menard, The Pennsylvania State University
R. Barry Ruback, The Pennsylvania State University

A sentence of restitution attempts to return victims to their pre-crime state and to make offenders aware of and responsible for correcting the harm they caused. Using data from court and probation records from four Pennsylvania counties (Centre, Blair, Dauphin, and Erie) from the years 1994 and 1996, the present research examines (a) factors related to judges' imposition of restitution, (b) factors relating to offenders' likelihood of paying the ordered restitution, and (c) the effect of restitution payment on recidivism. In addition, the study also examines the effects of a 1995 statutory change that made restitution mandatory in Pennsylvania regardless of offenders' ability to pay.

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Updated 05/20/2006