Focus on Restitution

A Message from Julie Nauman

Executive Officer Julie NaumanThis year, the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board has focused attention on criminal restitution—both imposition and collection. Over the last several years we have witnessed significant growth in the Victim Compensation Program. (CalVCP) In fact, I’m proud to say that since its inception CalVCP has paid out more than $2 billion to help victims of violent crime. This is a significant milestone as CalVCP continues to lead the nation in victim services. However, while applications and payments increase, revenue from criminal restitution has not kept pace. The Restitution Fund has seen a decline in the amount of restitution going into the fund and as a result, if nothing is done to correct this trend, the Fund is threatened to become insolvent by fiscal year 2012.

This is why earlier this month, along with our partner, the California District Attorney Association led by District Attorney and VCGCB Board Member Michael Ramos, we sponsored the “2010 California Restitution Summit.” We were pleased to bring together nearly 200 key participants in the restitution system to challenge one another, to exchange best practices and to focus efforts on bringing more revenue into the Restitution Fund to ensure its stablity and growth for years to come.

We have pledged to continue these discussions and work together as partners on this extremely urgent issue. Restitution is complex with many entities, all playing integral roles in the imposition of orders, fines and penalties that support the valuable work of CalVCP. We must all work together in order to create a system that is fair and sustainable.

Victims of violent crime deserve the help and services provided by CalVCP and the assurance that the program has the financial stability to continue to be there for them in their time of need.

Julie Nauman

Protecting the Restitution Fund

The State Restitution Fund is a key funding source for compensation paid to victims of violent crime through CalVCP. The Restitution Fund receives the majority of its revenue from restitution fines, diversion fees, restitution orders and penalties paid by criminal offenders. Last year, CalVCP paid out over $94 million dollars in compensation to victims of violent crime.

Recent statistics point to the weakened economy affecting victims’ ability to pay for crime-related expenses, resulting in an eight percent increase in applications for assistance. The difficult job market has also played a role in the reduction of restitution monies collected by offenders as they struggle to re-enter the workforce.

For these reasons, the California Victim Compensation Program partners with sister agencies and the California District Attorneys Association to put a year-long focus on restitution to ensure that the Restitution Fund is viable for many years to come.

Restitution Resources