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“Can Restitution Serve as a Reasonable Alternative to Imprisonment? An Assessment of the Situation in the USA.”

Weitekamp, Elmar G. M
June 4, 2015

Source: (1992) In: H. Messmer and H.-U. Otto (eds.), Restorative Justice on Trial: Pitfalls and Potentials of Victim-Offender Mediation: International Research Perspectives. Dordrecht, NETH: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 81-104.

Despite the fact that restitution and mediation advocates in the USA and Canada have claimed that they could serve as valuable alternatives to incarceration, evaluations of restitution and mediation programs show that this is not the case. They lead to higher rates of incarceration, use too rigid selection criteria, and thus only serve first-time offenders, property offenders, and offenders who are white and middle-class. The only existing program in which restitution has been used as an alternative to incarceration and which has served a large, metropolitan minority clientele that committed mostly serious, violent crimes is in Philadelphia. Other programs need to expanding their services in this way to succeed.


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