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Improving Financial Justice for Victims of Crime

NCJ Number
Amanda Sawa; Joseph Allen
Date Published
December 2018
43 pages
This report presents the findings and methodology of a study that examined restitution assessment and enforcement in cases where the Hawaii Crime Victim Compensation Commission (Commission) awarded compensation to crime victims and requested restitution from offenders to pay for this compensation.
Data were collected and analyzed for the purpose of better understanding victims' experience regarding harms suffered from the crime, legal judgments/orders, and the restitution payments received. Data for this project were collected from two cohorts of compensation cases, i.e., claims that were closed in 2010 and 2014. This enabled a comparison of various metrics over time. This study built on past research that included only inmates or parolees by also including data on probationers who were ordered to reimburse the Commission with restitution payment. This study has expanded knowledge about the target populations, trends/patterns in awards, sentencing/offenders, and trends/patterns in restitution orders and payments/collections. Overall, the data analyzed show definite improvement in some trends in restitution paid to crime victims; however, there are areas that need improvement. Restitution requests and orders have increased, but payment/collection is mixed. There were lower rates of payment, lower average payment amounts, but higher rates of balances paid in full. The time to first payment has shortened significantly. Some court circuits and enforcement agencies have countered negative trends. These systems and activities should be examined and perhaps replicated by other courts and enforcement agencies that are not performing as well. Research partnerships that involve the Commission are discussed, along with future research in this area of crime victim compensation. 16 figures and 10 tables