Bill Allowing Counties to Collect Victims Restitution From Convicted Felons Pushed by Sen. Lieu
2012-02-24 · By Editor
California residents who have been victimized would find it easier to collect restitution from their convicted perpetrators under a bill announced today by Sen. Ted W. Lieu of Torrance.
“Now that certain state prison inmates are held in local jails, county sheriffs need the authority to collect restitution from these offenders in order to help the victims of their crimes,” Sen. Ted W. Lieu said about the need for Senate Bill 1210. “Getting money from the bad guys to help the innocent is the least we can do to help victims recover.”
Under existing law, California crime victims have a constitutional right to be compensated for any losses caused by the person convicted of victimizing them. In order to help ensure this right, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation collects payments from inmates to provide restitution to California crime victims.
Thousands of convicted felons, however, no longer are being sent to CDCR as part of the Governor’s Realignment Plan. They instead are being housed in local jails – yet county sheriffs at present have no authority to collect restitution from these convicted felons.
SB 1210 would also give counties the right to collect a parole-revocation fine when an offender violates parole after being incarcerated in county jail instead of state prison. The parole revocation fines are used by the California Victim Compensation Program to help cover treatment and other support services for victims and their families.
SB 1210 is sponsored by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. “Right now felons who are sentenced to county jail rather than state prison are not paying their victims for the losses they caused by their criminal activity,” District Attorney Steve Cooley said. “This is occurring despite the state requirement that victims have a right to restitution from their perpetrators. Also not paying their fines are parolees serving their parole revocation in county jails instead of state prisons. These oversights must be corrected.”
Christine Ward of the Crime Victims Action Alliance agreed. “SB 1210 would fix a loophole by allowing collection of restitution from felons serving their term in county jails,” Ward said. “It is important that victims receive their restitution and that we ensure that criminals fulfill their financial obligations.”
That is the main goal, said Scott Thorpe, chief executive officer of the California District Attorneys Association. “Restitution is a promise made to victims, and we must not break that promise by the fact that criminal justice responsibilities have been realigned to the local level,” Thorpe said. SB 1210 is waiting to be assigned to a policy committee for review, which should occur within the next month.
For more, including a Fact Sheet on SB 1210, please visit Lieu’s Web site at the address below.
Ted W. Lieu chairs the Senate Labor Committee and represents nearly 1 million residents of Senate District 28, which includes the cities of Carson, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance, as well as portions of Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Pedro. For more, visit www.senate.ca.gov/lieu.