A new agreement between CDCR and the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) will allow easier collection of restitution to California victims of crime. This interagency agreement states that FTB will act as an agent for the CDCR in collection of victim restitution from adult parolees and discharged adult offenders.

The Interagency Agreement, signed in December, was spurred by the passage of AB2928 earlier in 2009. Victims suffer staggering economic costs as a result of crime. This agreement encompasses over $2 billion owed to more than 100,000 victims of crime. Crime victim compensation programs reimburse victims for part of this loss. California, already the clear national leader in victim restitution, is making a historic enhancement to the program. Until now, once adult offenders left CDCR jurisdiction, victims were left to collect restitution on their own. Now FTB will use the same collection process for adult offenders no longer under CDCR jurisdiction as they use for citizens who have underpaid taxes.

“CDCR has made tremendous strides toward improving California’s restitution system,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “The Victim Compensation Program has worked collaboratively with prosecutors and probation officers at the local level dedicated solely to enforcing restitution.”

California has a rich history with criminal restitution. California was the first state in the nation to give crime victims a constitutional right to restitution from their offenders. California also is home to the nation’s first crime victim compensation program. The state’s victim compensation program was founded in 1965 to assist residents of the State of California in obtaining compensation for the losses they suffer as a direct result of criminal acts. It has helped nearly 900,000 victims and their family members, and paid out more than $1.5 billion to eligible crime victims and those who provide services to them.

Testing for this program begins this month with collections beginning in February.
The California courts have acknowledged that restitution serves to make a criminal understand that he has harmed not merely society in the abstract but also individual human beings, and that he has a responsibility to make them financially whole. Restitution has also been recognized as serving twin functions of rehabilitation of the offender and compensation to the victim.