Convicted criminals owe Colorado victims $563 million in restitution and another $215 million in court fines and costs, says the Denver Post. The amount owed to the courts alone would be enough to cut the state budget deficit nearly in half. Te reality is that in high-profile cases where defendants have swindled people out of millions of dollars, burned hundreds of acres of land, repeatedly sexually abused children, or stolen people’s identities, the chance of recouping costs or fines or repaying victims is low.
Even if they, as well as those who owe far less in restitution, are released, the prospects for them of finding a high- paying job are slim. “If they are going to prison for a long time or don’t have any money, ordering them to pay is kind of pointless,” said Chief Judge R. Brooke Jackson of the 1st Judicial District. “But most judges want the defendant to pay restitution to victims over fines and order it, especially if they have assets.” Ten people convicted in the past seven years owe $100 million in restitution to the state and various individuals. All but two are currently incarcerated.