Governor signs Anderson bill closes loophole in victim restitution law

Legislation by 36th District Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) to protect victims of crime was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

“This measure will stop criminals from skipping out on their requirement to provide restitution to their victims,” said Anderson. “While incarceration is an important part of our justice system, so too is helping victims rebuild their lives.”

Because Anderson’s bill contains an urgency clause, it went into effect immediately. Until its passage, the law allowed convicted criminals to avoid paying restitution to the victim by simply serving some extra time in jail or prison.

Anderson’s bi-partisan Senate Bill 1371 closed that loophole by not allowing time served to be swapped for court-ordered payments of restitution to the victims.

“SB 1371 will prevent restitution owed by criminal offenders from being converted into prison time,” said Christine Ward, executive director of Crime Victims Action Alliance. “Restitution is imposed on offenders in order to ensure that they repay their debts to their victims and to society, and it should not be forgiven in exchange for prison time. SB 1371 will end this unjust practice.”

Last week, the Assembly passed SB 1371 in a unanimous 79-0 vote. In May, the Senate approved the bill, 33-0.

Ramona is among communities in District 36.

   
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