Capitol Weekly: "Prisoners help defray the costs of their crimes"

California has about $12 million in its restitution fund for victims and since 1991 has collected about $200 million in restitution payments from inmates. Two-thirds of California’s 160,000 prisoners have a total of about $1.7 million deducted each month from their earnings for prison work. But the state is less successful in dispensing the funds to some 50,000 crime victims, according to The Capitol Weekly.

By John Howard

Money is tight and times are tough but at least one outfit has money to give away – and is looking for the right people to give it to.
Among the duties of a small section of the state prison system called the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services is to make sure that court-ordered restitution gets to the victims of crime. When an inmate is sentenced, typically the judge also orders restitution to be paid by the defendant.  

About two-thirds of California’s 160,000 prisoners have money deducted from the pay they get for doing prison jobs. About $1.7 million is collected each month and is intended to provide compensation for some 50,000 victims of crime. The total fund currently is about $12 million, down from about $13 million two years ago. Since 1991, the fund has handled some $200 million in restitution. The department also collects restitution for a separate board, the Victims Compensation and Government Claims Board, which compensates victims who file claims.