Iowa offenders pay a fraction of restitution owed
DES MOINES (AP) — Despite more aggressive efforts to collect court-ordered debts, legal experts say most Iowa crime victims will never see all the money they are owed.
Iowa judges ordered arsonists, thieves, murderers and other convicted criminals to pay a combined $159 million in victim restitution over the past five years, according to data obtained by The Des Moines Register. Yet, offenders’ payments during that time totaled only $19 million, or less than 12 percent of the new debts.
Legal experts say restitution is a key part of society’s commitment to make victims whole and to get criminal offenders to face what they’ve done. Some critics are calling for better collections. Others call for a reality check, pointing out that the debts won’t likely ever be paid in full.
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