Restitution Hearing



The hearing on restitution:
September 16, 2004 @ 9:00am - 12:00pm

Both hearings will be held at the

Department of Water Resources Auditorium
1416 Ninth Street
Sacramento, Ca 95814

You can find the full text of the proposed changes on the web:
 http://www.cdc.state.ca.us/RegulationsPolicies/Pages/pendingrulespage.asp



Without crowds at these hearings to show muscle, we will get clobbered so keep on recruiting in the line up at the prisons, jails, juvenile halls, warrants dept., courthouses.

Restitution Increase to 44% effective January 1, 2005

By the authority of our newly appointed California Department of Corrections Director Jean Woodford, restitution will now be going to 44% percent effective January 1, 2005. This is the most current information we have been able to obtain, from other IFC's state wide. It could be subject to change, however we were told that there was a memo dated May 26, 2004 from CDC Sacramento, and mailed on June 3, 2004 to all trust office's.

It is important for family member's to understand that this is Not a newly in-acted legislative law. Current law states that the California Department of Corrections has the authority to collect 
restitution in the amount of 20%  to 50%. This increase was initiated solely by the California Department of Corrections.


California Penal Code 2085.5
2085.5. (a) In any case in which a prisoner owes a restitution fine 
imposed pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 13967 of the 
Government Code, as operative prior to September 28, 1994, or 
subdivision (b) of Section 1202.4, the Director of Corrections shall 
deduct a minimum of 20 percent or the balance owing on the fine 
amount, whichever is less, up to a maximum of 50 percent from the 
wages and trust account deposits of a prisoner, unless prohibited by 
federal law, and shall transfer that amount to the California Victim 
Compensation and Government Claims Board for deposit in the 
Restitution Fund in the State Treasury. Any amount so deducted shall 
be credited against the amount owing on the fine. The sentencing 
court shall be provided a record of the payments. (b) In any case in 
which a prisoner owes a restitution order imposed pursuant to 
subdivision (c) of Section 13967 of the Government Code, as operative 
prior to September 28, 1994, or subdivision (f) of Section 1202.4, 
the Director of Corrections shall deduct a minimum of 20 percent or 
the balance owing on the order amount, whichever is less, up to a 
maximum of 50 percent from the wages and trust account deposits of a 
prisoner, unless prohibited by federal law.

 If the restitution is owed to a person who has filed an application 
with the Victims of Crime Program, the director shall transfer that 
amount to the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims 
Board for direct payment to the victim, or payment shall be made to 
the Restitution Fund to the extent that the victim has received 
assistance pursuant to that program.

 No deductions shall be made on behalf of victims who have not filed 
an application with the Victims of Crime Program. The sentencing 
court shall be provided a record of the payments made to victims and 
of the payments deposited to the Restitution Fund pursuant to this 
subdivision. 


The increase in restitution was already approved a while back, in 2003. Only it was supposed to go to 55% starting July 1, 2004. The emergency regulation is requesting to delay this whopping increase until 1/1/07. So this is actually a good thing for those that pay restitution. 
You can still view the original change to the Director's rules on restitution on the CDC website:
 http://www.cdc.state.ca.us/Regulati...asp#Restitution

Here is new info concerning the changes to restitution:

The current restitution is 33% (30% for actual restitution and 10% of of the 30%, which is 3%, for processing fees). 
Starting July 1, 2004, it is scheduled to go to 55%. 
CDC is changing it to:
33% until 12/31/04
44% from 1/1/05 to 12/31/06 (yes two years)
55% from 1/1/07 and on



Here's your sample letter so you can object to the restitution you will be paying to CDC each time you send your inmate a few of your hard-earned dollars.

This is the sample letter for the upcoming hearing that Sarah Chappell so graciously wrote for everyone to use as a model. Don't copy it exactly. Rick Grentz is no longer with the department I 
understand. I am looking for his replacement now. The hearing is on September 16. I would like to recognize Dr. Sarah Chappell and thank her for all the hard work she does in the UNION - 

August 28, 2004
 
 

Rick Grenz
California Department of Corrections
Regulation and Policy Management Branch 
P.O. Box 942883
Sacramento, CA 94283-0001

Dear Mr. Grenz:

Please accept this letter as my objection to the proposed changes to Section 3097 of Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations, to incorporate into the Director's Rules provisions governing 
restitution fine and direct order collections. The language of Penal Code §2085.5 states  specifically, "the Director of Corrections shall deduct a minimum of 20 percent or the balance 
owing on the fine amount, whichever is less, up to a maximum of 50 percent from the wages and trust account deposits of a prisoner."

The Initial Statement of Reasons written by your department states that these rules are being changed to be in compliance with the Code. No where in the Code does is state that a 50% deduction is mandatory. In fact, the Legislature specifically suggested 20%. There is no law binding the California Department of Corrections to collect more than 20%.

I do not believe the Legislature of the State of California understood fully the impact of this law upon the families of inmates. Many inmates within the State of California do not receive pay for their job assignments. Those inmates that do receive compensation earn an average of $15 per month. At 33%, the current collection amount, the inmate will receive only $10.05 and at 55%, 
the inmate would receive only $6.75. This leaves inmate families to send money to the inmate to provide necessary items for personal hygiene and survival that the California Department of Corrections does not provide. In essence, it is the inmate families who are being "taxed" at the rate of 33-55%.

Inmate families must already pay exorbitant prices for collect phone calls, junk food of inferior quality at visiting, inmate packages from vendors, and for travel to visit their loved ones. The proposed increase in restitution collection only adds to the ever-increasing burden of inmate families-the hidden and forgotten crime victims. Many of the families are poor and do not understand the politics and hidden agendas of changes to the Director's Rules. They are forced to submit to these new policies without ever having read or had the chance to understand the ramifications of rules changes until after they have been passed. The availability of NCDRs is scarce within the prisons themselves and hidden on the Department of Corrections website. Hearings are held in the middle of the week in Sacramento. 
The language of the NCDR is written in legal-ease and references previous rules not included in the Notice. Just how is the average inmate family member supposed to access, understand, and be heard on these issues?

Those of us who do understand how your department is trying to rob our pockets again seem to be too few in number to effectively get the word out to other inmate families. I propose that your department responsible as a government agency of the State of California to consider all of the impacted citizens, including inmate families. Your department is also responsible to these same people to assist them in gaining access to information and being heard on rules that directly affect them. Your department, however, is taking advantage of innocent families who can least afford it.

Your Initial Statement of Reasons states, "that the CDC must determine that no alternative considered would be more effective in carrying out the purpose of this action or would be as effective and less burdensome to affected private persons than the action proposed." What alternative have you considered? Or have you considered "the affected private persons"-inmate families at all? No impact reports have been or at least not made available to determine the impact to private persons. 

One alternative is to collect restitution only from amounts earned by the inmate themselves. Private citizens already pay taxes are their hard-earned money and should not be forced to pay even more just because they choose to support their loved on who happens to be in prison. Parents and grandparents all over the country support their children and are not forced to pay any additional taxes to do so. Why are the parents, grandparents, wives, and children being forced 
to pay because their loved one is in prison? This is scandalous and outrageous to say the least. 

I believe that if the public was made fully aware of the regular practice of swindling the innocent families of inmates there would be a public outcry. But the information and notice of changes to the Director's Rules is not easily accessed. I propose that your department makes it purposefully difficult so that it can change rules whenever it sees fit and without interference.

Additionally, Penal Code §2085.5 also states, "Amounts transferred to the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board for payment of direct orders of restitution 
shall be paid to the victim within 60 days from the date the restitution revenues are received by the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board. If the restitution payment 
to a victim is less than fifty dollars ($50), then payment need not be forwarded to that victim until the payment reaches fifty dollars ($50) or until 180 days from the date the first payment is received, whichever occurs sooner."

I have worked with many crime victims within my practice as a psychotherapist and I have yet to meet one victim who has received a payment from the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board. Where does this "unclaimed" money go? Are victims aware of 
their right to collect this money?

In summary, the stated reasons for the proposed NCDR changes are an exaggerated response to budget cuts and ill-informed public demand to be "tougher on crime." These rules serve no penological interest and are born on the backs of inmate families and indigent inmates. The 
CDC has failed to offer proof that the proposed changes are reasonably related to a legitimate security interest or will result in a positive fiscal impact. I strongly object to this proposed rule 
change and to the manner in which notice was given to the public.

Sincerely,
 

Sarah R. Chappell

cc: California Office of Administrative Law
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger



September 2, 2004 

Rick Grenz 
California Department of Corrections 
Regulation and Policy Management Branch 
P.O. Box 942883 
Sacramento, CA 94283-0001
 

- Dear Mr. Grenz:

 I am writing to strongly object to the increase in restitution for inmates in our state prisons.  The penal code does not demand that 50% be taken from inmates who are getting a small pittance from their poor families.  However soon the restitution charges will be at 44% and in another couple of years up to 55%. 

 How is this fair and just?  The inmate is being punished, not rehabilitated, and now the money from their family will be withheld as in order to get $ 5 to our loved ones to purchase salt for their diets, we must send in $10.  Salt has been taken from inmates to save the state money.  What is to save me money?  Should I stop loving my son? 

Should I tell his children that they may not send a little money to purchase a little treat of a candy bar or some mouthwash?  What are our future taxpayers (children of these inmates) to believe about our system?  Water is not even safe in many of our prisons and CDC is busy taking money from families of inmates to make restitution. 

 My son does not make any money on his job at the prison.  He only gets what we can scrap together for him.  I try to send powders to make liquids for him to drink so that he can stay healthy or some personal hygiene items, vitamins to fight disease, which is rampant.  Packages from home have been taken away.  Phone calls to speak with moms and children have reached outlandish prices, as we are required to use the state vendor phone company who is gouging families of 
inmates. 

 Monies from home are being cut in half to our loved ones.  Why must families be punished and pay for restitution when we have committed no crime?  It is an 8-hour drive for me to see my son.  I can only afford the gasoline, food costs and lodging to see him once a year or once every 15 or 16 months. 

 We share together what we have and are thankful for what we do have.  We do not need CDC to make proposal after proposal to further stretch our budget.  This proposal is an outrage.  It is further punishment.  It not only punishes the inmate but it punishes children and families of inmates. 

  I pay my taxes and it is totally punitive to make me pay more because my son committed a crime.  Let me show him some love without punishment by keeping my money free from restitution. 

 I cannot send much but I work very hard for the little I can send, only to learn he can only have half of it.  My family is affected in a very adverse way due to forced vendor packages with little choice 
in healthy selections, outrageous cost of phone calls, stacked inmates living in unhealthy conditions not fit for the lowest animal life and NOW stifling restitution charges.  CDC claimed the package 
proposal would offer security however they have not shown this to be true.

  It is my firm belief that this proposal, as well, will not result in anything positive.I believe in a degree of punishment, definite rehabilitation and most of all education, but this proposal does not help anyone and is certainly a detriment and punishment to many who have committed no crime.

  I strongly object to this proposed rule change.

 Sincerely, Shirley Wetherwax

cc:  Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

 


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