Enhanced Restitution Collection Bill Takes Effect
Victims of Crime Stand to Receive Needed Funding
Sacramento, CA — As of January 1, 2015, the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) now has a new tool in its effort to collect restitution from criminal offenders. A new law signed by Governor Brown allows a representative from the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board to provide information to the trial court regarding restitution prior to sentencing.
“Restitution paid by criminal offenders is the primary source of funding in compensating victims for the costs incurred as a result of crime,” says Julie Nauman, Executive Officer of the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board. “This bill enables us to work more closely with the courts to ensure the victims get all the support that they need.”
Allowing representatives to provide information directly to the courts will help close gaps in California’s victim restitution law and will provide more resources to help victims of crime move forward with their lives.
Restitution funds help victims with the financial costs of crime by paying for crime-related expenses such as mental health services, medical and dental treatment, and funeral and burial expenses.
Sponsored by the Board, this bill improves the collection of restitution from criminal offenders by allowing a representative of the Board to provide information on the needs of the victims so that the real costs can be included in a restitution order.
AB 2685 (Cooley) also clarifies that inmates must pay restitution from any estate or life insurance disbursements they may receive. Before someone convicted of a crime is given funds from an estate, they now must pay off the restitution they owe before receiving those funds.For more information regarding victim compensation, please visit the CalVCP website.
The California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) provides compensation for victims of violent crime who are injured or threatened with injury. Among the crimes covered are domestic violence, child abuse, sexual and physical assault, homicide, robbery, and vehicular manslaughter. Last fiscal year, the program assisted more than 600 individuals each week, and provided nearly $62 million in compensation to crime victims.
If a person meets eligibility criteria, CalVCP will compensate many types of services when the costs are not covered by other sources. Eligible services include medical and dental care, mental health services, income loss, funeral expenses, rehabilitation and relocation. Funding for CalVCP comes from restitution fines and orders, penalty assessments levied on persons convicted of crimes and traffic offenses, and matching federal funds.
For more information about victims’ rights and services, visit the CalVCP website.