In the three years since enactment of a federal law designedto increase restitution payments by criminals to their victims,the number of defendants ordered to pay restitution has actuallyfallen, according to a report by the U.S. General AccountingOffice.

Before the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act took effect onApril 24, 1996, 26 percent of offenders were ordered to payrestitution. Since then and through the 1997 fiscal year, thenumber dropped to 12 percent.

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