Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Lewis Walker


The present research focuses on the effectiveness of two restitution programs for juvenile offenders, one in Elkhart County, Indiana, and the other in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. Effectiveness refers to the impact of the two restitution programs on offender restitution to their victims and on offender recidivism. The two programs are a Victim Offender Reconciliation Project (VORP) in Elkhart County and a non-VORP restitution program administered by the Juvenile Probate Court in Kalamazoo County. The VORP is operated by a private agency--the Center for Community Justice, while the Kalamazoo program is publicly operated. This study focuses on the impact of the privately operated program in comparison to the impact of the publicly operated program on offender repayments to victims and recidivism on the part of the offenders.

For this research, the data were gathered for restitution contracts (121 in Elkhart and 109 in Kalamazoo) from the beginning of 1987 to the end of 1988. All the program participants were followed through the end of 1989 to gather information on their recidivism during restitution programs and subsequent to their release from the programs. This information was collected from the written official documents of the Elkhart County Police Department, the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department, and the computer records of the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Probate Court.

The findings from this research indicated that (a) there was no significant difference in completion of restitution contracts between privately operated and publicly operated programs, and (b) there was no significant difference in recidivism among the participants of the two programs. However, for the participants with prior offense records, both the programs had short-term effectiveness in reducing recidivism. That is, both the programs were effective in reducing recidivism among the juveniles only as long as they were under restitution supervision. The short-term effect faded away subsequent to their release from restitution programs, both private and public.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Sociology Commons