Source: (1991) In: G. Kaiser, H. Kury and H. Albrecht (eds.), Victims and Criminal Justice: Legal Protection, Restitution and Support. Criminological Research Reports, Volume 51, Max-Plank Institute, pp. 423-456.This essay discusses the recent rationale, purpose and issues around restitution and describes restitution programs in the 1980s in the USA and Canada. Whether restitution and mediation programs serve as an alternative to incarceration or lead to wider, stronger, and different nets of social control is discussed. Failure of current programs to service more problematic offender populations and need for empirical research is presented. The results of existing restitution and victim offender reconciliation programs in the USA and Canada have thus far failed to be a real alternative to traditional criminal procedures and incarceration.