Maricopa County Arizona’s restitution-enforcement court is a no-nonsense kind of place, and for that reason it is being recognized nationally, reports the Arizona Republic. A National Center for Victims of Crime report identified Maricopa County’s restitution-enforcement court as one of the five most successful models in the U.S. for collecting money that defendants owe to victims. Since August 2008, the county has collected about $500,000 in delinquent payments from 266 defendants, most of whom have been convicted of theft or fraud crimes.
Once a month, defendants who owe money to their victims appear before a judge and explain why they have not paid. The judge establishes whether the defendants are truly unable to make payments or are refusing to pay. If it is the latter, they can be taken into custody until they pay the amount set by the judge – usually the full amount. Mai Fernandez of the victims’-rights group said Maricopa’s court-hearing model is unique.