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Only 14 percent of court-ordered restitution collected In Iowa in 2011

Trish Mehaffey, CR Gazette –

The state collected more than $3.5 million in court-ordered restitution from offenders in 2011 — less than 14 percent of the $26 million ordered by judges in Iowa’s eight judicial districts.

Restitution is ordered for almost all victims of crime, but because offenders are often indigent, in prison or earning low wages, court and prison officials say, many victims don’t receive the money.

“You can’t get blood from a turnip,” Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said last week.

The data released Thursday by the State Court Administrator’s Office includes all restitution ordered in district, associate district and juvenile courts. It also covers restitution paid through the Crime Victim Compensation Program for victims of violent crimes.

Nearly $1.6 million of the total collected came from prison inmates. Iowa Department of Corrections spokesman Fred Scaletta said last week that while offenders are in prison, 20 percent of each deposit into their accounts is garnished for restitution.

By the numbers
18,708 offenders
$25,927,781 owed
$3,571,358 paid
19,908 offenders
$32,249,963 owed
$3,789,086 paid
22,730 offenders
$31,418,004 owed
$3,306,397 paid.

Source: State Court Administrator’s Office

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