Restitution is defined as “paying back”.
Restitution is part of the sentence ordered by the court. It is read out loud in court along with the terms of confinement. The court is required by law to order restitution in every criminal case and this requirement may be imposed. The financial status of the convicted does not enter into consideration.
The purpose of restitution is to help victims with expenses after the hardship caused by the inmate(s).
The amount assigned can range from $200 to $10,000. The trial judge decides the amount determined by the gravity of the case. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation collects the money and the Victims Compensation Fund assures that victims receive it. Depending when convicted in the past, some inmates may not have restitution or may have already paid it in full.
How is Restitution Collected?
Restitution is collected from any money an inmate earns or receives from the outside. As of January 2007, a total of 55% is taken from the inmate’s earnings and gifts to be applied toward restitution. Fifty percent goes into the restitution fund and 5% is charged for CDCR administrative fees. If, for example, a family member were to send $100 to the inmate, $45.00 would appear in his/her account and the remaining would go toward restitution/administrative fees.
Parole does not exempt the inmate from fulfilling the restitution fine. Once off parole, the convicted must continue to pay off the restitution.
An offender wishing to transfer to another state to complete parole must pay the restitution fine before being allowed to transfer.
Paying Off Restitution
Restitution can be paid in several ways. Restitution is automatically deducted from any monies given to or earned by the inmate. Family or friends are permitted to pay any restitution through JPAY if they know the case number. A family or friend may call the trust office of the prison to get further details and amounts in order to pay the restitution. Money orders, not checks, should be used.