Source: (2008) The Crime Victims Report. 11(6):83,84,86.

For many victims, one meaningful step in mitigating the harm they have endured is to ensure they are paid the restitution they are owed. Having their financial losses (such as damaged property and lost wages) repaid through restitution not only serves to reimburse victims, but also demonstrates that the person who committed the crime is assuming some responsibility for his or her actions. Yet a recent report by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, Repaying Debts, states that victims often fail to receive the restitution they need, in part because state policies effectively result in criminal justice agencies competing with victims for payments from people released from prisons and jails. Other findings from the report support what crime victims and their advocates have long known: that we must change the way we address the collection of all the debts that people released from prison and jail owe if we are to make significant headway in increasing restitution payments. The discussion that follows highlights some of the report's recommendations and the context in which they are made. (excerpt)