Wednesday, June 19, 1996

CORRECTIONS ADDS NEARLY $.5 MILLION TO VICTIMS' FUND

In April alone, the California Department of Corrections collected $435,306.73 for the State Board of Control's Crime Victim Compensation Fund. The money comes from state prison inmates and is used to cover medical costs, mental health treatment, and emergency expenses of California crime victims.

"This is the fifth straight month that collections have approached the half million dollar mark," said CDC Director James H. Gomez. "At this rate, we will be able to generate nearly $5.6 million for crime victims in 1996 alone."

Collections skyrocketed in December 1995 after a new law allowed the department to collect a portion of all deposits to inmates accounts, regardless of the source, if the inmate has a court-ordered restitution fine. Before then, Corrections could collect from these inmates' wages only.

"Now we need to encourage district attorneys, chief probation officers, and judges to require restitution for all convicted felons," said Gomez.

Currently only about half of the inmates in state prisons have been ordered to pay restitution. "We want to make that 100 percent," said Gomez.

"In my judgment, every single inmate should be required to pay restitution," Gomez continued. "We have the laws, the means, and the will to make it happen."