Mandatory statutes do not always produce change, but a 1995 Pennsylvania statutory change making restitution mandatory dramatically increased the proportion of cases in which restitution was imposed. There are three possible reasons for this generally successful implementation: (a) judges agreed with the victim-centered goals of the statute, (b) there were mechanisms in place to implement the goals of assisting victims, and (c) there was a context supportive of victims that made it easier to follow the law. Two studies investigated these possible explanations. First, a statewide survey of trial court judges suggested that they agreed with the statute's goals of compensating victims. Second, hierarchical logistic models of 55,119 statewide restitution-eligible decisions indicated that a victim-related contextual factor, the nature and location of the victim/witness assistance office, was significantly related to the imposition of restitution, although a more general contextual factor relating to funding for victim programs had only small effects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health