Twenty-one percent increase in restitution collected
SACRAMENTO – Today, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced that half of all money received by inmates with court-ordered restitution – either earned or sent to them by others – will be sent to victims and survivors of violent crimes as restitution.
“Ensuring that crime victims and survivors receive restitution is a top priority of my Administration,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “I am pleased that CDCR has closed the necessary loopholes and streamlined the process for restitution requests. More money is now going where it belongs – to victims and survivors.”
“Today’s announcement that 50 cents of every dollar earned by an inmate, or sent to an inmate by family and others, is collected on behalf of victims and survivors of the perpetrator’s crimes, underscores that the rights of victims and survivors to collect on restitution, judgments and other direction orders from the court are stronger than ever here at CDCR,” Secretary Tilton said. “I thank the assistance of victim’s rights advocates who have worked tirelessly to help make this happen.”
In addition, the program for collection of restitution from offenders on parole has been strengthened. Overall, this program has resulted in a 21 percent increase in restitution collection in 2007 from 2006, with more than $22 million in restitution orders, fines and fees collected last year.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proclaimed April 14 – 18, 2008 as “Crime Victims’ Rights Week” in California. Statewide, several dozen adult and juvenile facilities and parole regions/offices have planned victim’s week observations and activities, including a march on the Capitol this Wednesday, April 16, at 10 a.m.
CDCR has a long history of supporting the rights of victims and survivors of crime. When the Department reorganized on July 1, 2005, the Department’s victim right’s advocate was elevated to an Assistant Secretary level position and reports directly to the Secretary. A number of reforms and changes were made since the CDCR reorganization, including:
- Maximizing restitution collection from inmates under State and Federal laws
- Automatically activating all direct orders of restitution from the courts to CDCR
- Initiating restitution collection immediately when the offender is received by CDCR
- Extending that restitution obligation more effectively as the inmate transitions to parole.
Susan Fisher, who serves as Governor Schwarzenegger’s Crime Victim Advocate, applauds CDCR efforts to date, but added that changes are still needed by other partners in the criminal justice system to best represent the needs of victims and survivors.
“Despite significant progress in providing rights and services to crime victims over the past two decades, large segments of the population are still underserved,” said Fisher. “It is the administration’s hope that the increased collection of victim restitution funds will allow us to provide more services for crime victims, including those with disabilities and mental illness, and victims who are immigrants, teenagers, elderly, or live in rural areas. Every victim deserves respect, resources, restoration, and justice, every time.”
The CDCR Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS) provide advocacy services as well as supports rehabilitative opportunities for offenders. Specifically, the OVSRS maintains a comprehensive victim services program and supports justice practices to ensure offender rehabilitation and accountability to victims, the community, and to themselves.
“Crime Victims’ Rights Week offers us all the opportunity to recommit ourselves to ensuring that every victim is afforded his or her legal rights in our criminal justice system,” said Sandi Menefee, Assistant Secretary for the OVSRS. “We must continue to increase our collective efforts to protect, restore, and expand crime victims’ rights and services so that they apply to every victim.”
For more information and a schedule of Crime Victim’s Week activities statewide, please visit the website at: www.cdcr.ca.gov/Victim_Services/victims_rights_week_2008.html