Source: (2014) The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. 104(2): 389-430.

Restitution is a familiar tool. Court-ordered restitution is used widely in white-collar cases, and voluntary restitution also plays a background role, although published decisions rarely acknowledge and examine it. While the availability of mandatory restitution may appear on its face to obviate the need to encourage offenders to voluntarily repay their victims, a closer look at existing practices demonstrates that the prevailing mandatory approach is ineffective. Mechanisms for enforcing restitution judgments are imperfect at best, collection rates are abysmally low, and offenders use a panoply of evasive tactics to avoid their obligations.2 Consequently, mandatory restitution orders may have expressive value, but their restorative effects tend to fall short of the mark. Their use in lieu of possibly more helpful alternative measures fails to leverage the power of the courts to induce remedial, and possibly more socially responsible, behavior. (excerpt)