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Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill closing loophole on restitution

June 29, 2012 | 10:15 am

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While Gov. Jerry Brown was busy this week signing budget bills, he also took time to approve legislation aimed at helping crime victims financially.

The law by Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) prohibits the current practice of allowing criminals to satisfy an order to pay restitution to crime victims by serving time in prison or jail.

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

The bill had bipartisan support, passing both houses of the Legislature on unanimous votes at the urging of groups including the Crime Victims Action Alliance.

“SB 1371 will prevent restitution owed by criminal offenders from being converted into prison time,” said Christine Ward, the alliance’s executive director. “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.”

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Inmates seen in a mirror line a wall at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy. A new law prohibits the practice of letting California offenders serve time behind bars to satisfy sentencing orders that they pay restitution to their victims. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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