Skip navigation

Repaying Debts, BJA, 2007

Download original document:
Brief thumbnail
This text is machine-read, and may contain errors. Check the original document to verify accuracy.
Repaying
Debts

Repaying
Debts
A publication about how policymakers can increase
accountability among people who commit crimes,
improve rates of child support collection and
victim restitution, and make people’s transition
from prisons and jails to the community safe and
successful

Rachel L. McLean
Michael D. Thompson
Council of State Governments Justice Center
New York, New York

prepared by the reentry policy council, which is coordinated by the council of state governments justice center,
with the support of the u.s. department of justice, bureau of justice assistance

This project was supported by Grant No. 2005-RE-CX-K002, awarded by
the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice
Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of
Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the
National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime. Points of view or opinions
in this document are those of the authors and do not represent the official
position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance reserves the right to reproduce, publish,
translate, or otherwise use and to authorize others to publish and use all or
any part of the copyrighted material contained in this publication.
The Council of State Governments Justice Center is a national nonprofit
organization that serves policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels
from all branches of government. The Justice Center provides practical,
nonpartisan advice and consensus-driven strategies, informed by available
evidence, to increase public safety and strengthen communities.
Council of State Governments Justice Center, New York 10005
© 2007 by the Council of State Governments Justice Center
All rights reserved. Published 2007.
Points of view or opinions in this document also do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of project supporters, advisory group
members, or Council of State Governments members.
Graphic design by David Williams

Contents

1

Introduction

7

Research Highlights: The Financial Obligations of People Released
from Prisons and Jails
Policy Statements and Recommendations

11

policy statement 1
Identify state and local laws and policies that address court orders for child support, victim
restitution, and other fines, fees, and surcharges and determine how these laws and policies
are used to govern collections made from people released from prisons and jails.

17

policy statement 2
Coordinate—and ideally integrate—distinct agencies’ policies, procedures, and information
systems so that the fines, fees, surcharges, and restitution orders of each person sentenced to
prison or jail are consolidated to improve collection rates, where possible, and child support
and restitution are prioritized appropriately.

25

policy statement 3
Enact child support enforcement policies that encourage parents released from prisons and
jails to maintain legitimate employment that will help them provide long-term support to
their children.

29

policy statement 4
Ensure that victims receive the restitution they are owed.

33

policy statement 5
Make certain that new fines, fees, and surcharges do not reduce the ability of people returning
from prisons and jails to pay child support and restitution.

35

policy statement 6
Establish a range of sanctions and incentives that agencies responsible for collections can
exercise when a person released from prison or jail does not meet his or her child support
and court-ordered financial obligations.

41

Conclusion

43

Appendix A: Methodology

45

Appendix B: Advisory Group

47

Notes

| iii

Acknowledgments

The Council of State Governments Justice Center would like to thank the

Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) for funding this project, and Senior Policy Advisor
for Corrections Andrew Molloy in particular for his support. The center would also
like to thank the National Institute of Corrections for generously underwriting the
costs of convening a meeting to review an early draft of this guide.
The center’s board and staff also thank Carl Wicklund and Diane Kincaid for
their generous assistance with the survey of American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) members. The center relied heavily on the expertise of members of the
National Center for State Courts (NCSC) in compiling this report and would like to
thank Kay Farley and Dave Byers of NCSC for their analysis and support. Jason Bryl
conducted extensive research in Texas to prepare the sample collections diagram; his
tireless work on this project was tremendously valuable. In addition, Vicki Turetsky
of the Center for Law and Social Policy, Amy Solomon of the Urban Institute, Bob
Sudlow of the Ulster County Adult Probation Department in New York, and Sharon
English, victim advocate, conducted a detailed review of this document, for which the
project staff are extremely grateful.
The authors also wish to thank the numerous current and former staff within
the Justice Center who contributed their time to reviewing this document, including
Martha Plotkin, Jessica Nickel, Elizabeth Nevins, and Katherine Brown. In addition,
the center thanks all of the individuals, too many to list here, who contributed their
thoughtful experience and expertise to the development of this document. In particular, the authors are indebted to the members of an advisory group at a meeting
convened in April 2006, in Washington, D.C., to explore solutions to this issue and to
provide feedback on an early draft of this report (see Appendix B for a full list of the
advisory group members). Finally, thanks is due to Elizabeth Hurwit for her usual
attention to detail in proofing this report.

|v

Introduction

BACKGROUND

What issues does this guide address?
In states, counties, and cities across the country, elected officials and other policymakers are focusing unprecedented levels of attention on the growing number of
people released from prisons and jails. This guide is written for these policymakers. It
focuses on an aspect of prison and jail reentry that has received little attention to date:
people’s failure to pay child support, restitution, and various fines, fees, and other
court-imposed financial obligations after their incarceration—a source of enormous
frustration to parents, victims, judges, child support enforcement officials, administrators of corrections and community corrections agencies, and social service providers.
In 2004 alone, more than 650,000 people were released from prisons in the
United States, and an estimated 9 million people were released from jails.1 Rates of
failure among this population are high: approximately two out of every three people
released from prisons in the United States are rearrested within three years of their
release; more than 50 percent are reincarcerated.2 Given the billions of dollars spent
on corrections each year, and the public safety implications of so many people returning to communities from prisons and jails who are not complying with their conditions of release, policymakers’ increasing interest in reentry is not surprising.
As state and local leaders make it a priority to improve the rates of success among
people released from prisons and jails, they must consider the debts that this population owes when they return to the community—and the people (in addition to the
government agencies) who depend on the repayment of these debts. Approximately
1.5 million children have a parent incarcerated;3 and, when a father or mother
returns to the community from prison or jail, the family is understandably eager
to receive child support. For victims (and it is not unusual for a victim to also be a
family member), restitution provides some reimbursement for the financial losses
they have sustained, and it demonstrates that the person who committed the crime is
assuming some responsibility for his or her actions. At the same time, courts and law
enforcement agencies such as probation and parole departments increasingly rely on
revenue-generating fees and fines.
Most people released from prisons and jails have few financial resources. It is
unlikely their financial outlook will improve soon after their return to the community.
On average, people released from prison are about 34 years old. Typically, 90 percent
of these individuals are male, and more than half are African-American or Latino.4
They have little education and few marketable job skills.5 Generally, they return to the
neighborhoods they came from or similar locales, where job opportunities are particularly limited.6

|1

repaying debts

Given this context, the ability of people to meet their court-imposed financial
obligations immediately upon their return to the community from prisons and jails
is typically unrealistic. Not surprisingly, expectations among families and victims
that they will be receiving payments of a particular size and frequency go unfulfilled.
Competition ensues—between families and victims, and among these groups and
government agencies—for some share of the monies that the person released from
prison or jail owes them. This is a difficult problem for everyone involved, and it is
growing more acute as the number of people released from prison and jail increases,
the high rates of failure among this population persist, states pass new laws imposing
new fines and fees (or increasing existing charges), and courts and community corrections agencies are told to derive a larger source of their budget from this revenue.
What will this guide help policymakers accomplish?
In this guide, legislators, administrators of corrections and community corrections
agencies, court officials, victim advocates, child support enforcement officials, social
service providers, and others who have an interest in the repayment of debts owed by
people released from prisons and jails will find specific, practical recommendations
to help them realize the following goals:
(1) Learning which state, city, and county laws address court orders for child support,
victim restitution, and other fines, fees, and surcharges, and understanding how
these laws and policies are used to govern collections made from people released
from prisons and jails.
(2) Improving rates of collection of child support, restitution, and fines, fees,
and surcharges from people returning to the community.
(3) Helping people successfully complete the conditions of their sentence.

Glossary*
Child Support: Amount that a noncustodial parent
pays to a child’s parent or guardian to contribute
toward the financial cost of raising the child.
Fees (or Assessments): Amounts charged in exchange
for the services provided by courts, probation departments, and other agencies, (e.g., probation supervision, electronic monitoring, or a court filing fee).
Financial Obligations: A term used to encompass
child support, restitution, fines, fees, surcharges, and
other court-ordered debts commonly owed by people
returning from prisons and jails to the community.

Fines (or Sanctions): Penalties associated with committing specific crimes or levels of offense (e.g., a DUI
or felony), which courts order as a punishment in their
own right; these may be mandatory or discretionary.
Restitution: Sums that judges order people convicted
of crimes to pay to their victims as compensation for
the financial losses associated with the crime.
Surcharges: Add-on amounts used to generate general
fund revenue for specific purposes (e.g., law library,
judge retirement, or staff training funds), often unrelated to the crime.

* The meaning of these terms varies by jurisdiction. This document uses definitions from Standards Relating to Court
2|

Costs: Fees, Miscellaneous Charges, and Surcharges, adopted at the Conference of State Court Administrators’ 1986 Annual
Meeting, Omaha, Neb.

introduction

(4) Informing lawmakers’ policy discussions and decisions when they are
considering the establishment of new fines, fees, and surcharges.
HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE

How is the guide organized?
This guide provides research findings, with supporting statistics, to explain the
origins and extent of the problems associated with the repayment responsibilities of
people released from prisons and jails. With this foundation, the CSG Justice Center developed six policy statements, each of which articulates a principle that should
guide an initiative to improve the likelihood that people released from prisons and
jails will successfully meet their financial obligations to victims and families. Each
policy statement is followed by a description of the problem it addresses and by a set
of recommendations for implementation that are presented as lettered statements in
bold text.
Numerous examples included in this guide draw attention to interesting efforts
in a variety of cities, counties, and states that may provide valuable ideas for policymakers to consider or build upon as they develop their own initiatives. By highlighting certain approaches, however, this guide is not necessarily promoting them as
“best practices.” The examples cited simply reflect various types of efforts that involve
partnerships, programs, or practices for other communities to think about as they
develop responses to the problems detailed in this guide.
What subset of people involved in the criminal justice system
does this guide address?
The policy statements in this guide address issues facing adults under correctional
supervision who have been sentenced and are serving time in a correctional facility such as a prison or jail, or are under community correctional supervision (e.g.,
probation or parole). The policy statements here do not directly address—but may
nonetheless affect—the many individuals who pass through the court system and
owe substantial financial obligations but have not been sentenced to prison or jail.
Considering this issue as it relates only to people released from prisons and jails and
under community correctional supervision may seem arbitrary, but it does help make
the scope of this document manageable, excluding issues unique to people who owe
fines, fees, child support, and restitution but are not incarcerated or returning from
prisons and jails to the community. It also allows an emphasis on the individuals with
the fewest resources, whose failure is of the greatest cost to the state.
This guide also does not address debts that are commonly owed but not explicitly
part of a sentence imposed by a criminal court, such as transportation and housing
payments or consumer debt. Though not the focus of this guide, these kinds of debt
are relevant to many of the policy statements and recommendations provided here.
Local governments within a state may have distinct policies and practices related
to levying and collecting child support, restitution, fines, fees, and surcharges. This
guide discusses state and local policies, but does not fully address the nuances that
may arise on a local level.

|3

repaying debts

Where does one start?
Successful implementation of the recommendations in this guide requires substantial collaboration among multiple agencies and systems. To this end, policymakers
should form a working group that includes representatives of each of the systems
relevant to this issue, including legislators, administrators of institutional and community corrections agencies, court officials, victim advocates, child support enforcement officials, social service providers, and others. In addition, the working group
should include representatives of those constituencies that have first-hand experience
with this issue—namely, victims, family members of people who have been released
from prisons and jails, and people who have themselves been incarcerated.
When convening a group with such diverse perspectives—and potentially competing interests—it is important to select as chair of the working group someone in
a position of leadership and with broad authority, rather than the head of a particular
agency. Judges may be uniquely suited to serve as chair because they carry with them
the impartiality of the courts and typically enjoy a stature in state and local government that enables them to bring together people from different systems. Indeed, they
are well positioned to moderate discussions between parties (child support advocates, probation agencies, victim advocates, and others) with different priorities and
attitudes about what financial obligations should be emphasized in the collections
process. Policymakers such as state legislators or county executives with responsibility for setting the budgets of multiple agencies may also appropriately be effective in
this role.
The judge or elected official who leads the working group will likely not have time
to coordinate the logistics of convening the group or to ensure follow-through with
the group’s policy decisions. To fulfill this role, the working group should appoint
a staff person whose time is dedicated to coordinating the group. The staff person
should ideally have experience coordinating groups that span multiple systems and
disciplines, and could conceivably come from any of the participating agencies.
With a respected chairperson and skilled support staff, the working group should
begin with Policy Statement 1, which describes how to develop an understanding of
the relevant laws and policies in its city, county, or state; organize this information
in meaningful ways; and develop an informed plan for making improvements to the
existing system based on the working group’s assessment of its laws and policies.
What resources, beyond this guide, are available?
No one document has examined in detail each of the financial obligations that people
released from prisons and jails must meet. But numerous organizations have issued
reports focusing on particular aspects of this issue, such as child support or victim
restitution.
Users of this guide may find particularly helpful the following reports and
resources:
• Working with Incarcerated and Released Parents: Lessons from OCSE Grants and State
Programs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for
Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement. 7

4|

• New Directions from the Field: Victims’ Rights and Services for the 21st Century—
Restitution, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for
Victims of Crime .8

introduction

• The Role of Victims in Offender Reentry: A Community Response Manual, American
Probation and Parole Association and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of
Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime .9
• Online Resource Library, National Center for State Courts .10
Finally, the working group should consult the dozens of resources upon which
this guide relied heavily, which are listed in the Notes section.

About the Development of This Guide
To develop this guide, staff of the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center interviewed dozens of
experts in community corrections, court administration, child support, victim services, and other fields.
In addition, the CSG Justice Center reviewed policies and procedures from countless local, state, and
federal agencies, legislation enacted in various states,
and published and unpublished research. This guide
also benefited considerably from a day-long meeting
attended by various leading policymakers, practitioners, and advocates (for a description of the methodology used to develop this guide, see Appendix A).

This guide also draws on the Report of the Re-Entry
Policy Council. The council brought together more than
100 leaders from across the United States to develop
bipartisan recommendations for policymakers to use
to improve the likelihood that adults released from
prisons and jails will avoid crime and become productive, healthy members of families and communities.
These recommendations were published in January
2005, in the council’s landmark report, which can
be viewed, free, online at www.reentrypolicy.org.
This report is a valuable resource for readers of this
guide, who may find useful the additional discussions
of relevant issues such as the employment of people
released from prison and effective release and supervision decisions.

|5

Research Highlights:
The Financial Obligations of People
Released from Prisons and Jails

Many people released from prisons and jails have a substantial amount of debt to
repay, including supervision fees, court costs, victim restitution, and child support.

• Many of the men released from prisons in two states report owing monthly probation
or parole supervision fees; 12 percent owed court costs and/or fines.11
• An analysis in one jurisdiction found that the 15 percent of people on probation with
restitution orders owed an average of $3,500.12
• Most people who are incarcerated have children under 18 years of age.13 Parents in
one state were shown to leave prison owing an average of more than $20,000 in child
support arrears.14
percentages of people
released from prison who
owe supervision fees 15 *
Ohio
Texas

58%
39%

percentages of people
released from prison who
owe court costs and/or
fines 16
Ohio
Texas

parents with children
under 18 years of age with
child support obligations 17

17%
6%

Ohio

32%

Illinois

17%

Texas

16%

The financial obligations of people released from prisons and jails often
go unfulfilled.

• A study of people released on parole in Colorado found that they owed an average
of $16,600 in child support.18
• An examination of court-ordered obligations in 11 states found an average of
$178 million per state in uncollected court costs, fines, fees, and restitution.19
• Court administrators in one state report that only 23 percent of fines are successfully
collected, and no action is taken on uncollected payments.20
People released from prisons and jails typically have insufficient resources to
pay their debts to their children, victims, and the criminal justice system.

• Nationally, two-thirds of people detained in jails report annual incomes under $12,000
prior to arrest.21
• Most people returning to the community have difficulty finding employment upon
release from incarceration, and they often rely on their families for support.22

* These graphs present unpublished findings of the Urban Institute’s Returning Home study of released prisoners in Texas,
Ohio, and Illinois. For more information on Returning Home, see www.urban.org/projects/reentry-portfolio/index.cfm.

|7

repaying debts

• In one study, three-fourths of people released from prison owing child support,
restitution, and supervision fees reported having difficulty paying off these debts.23
• Financial pressures and paycheck garnishment resulting from unpaid debt can
increase participation in the underground economy and discourage legitimate
employment.24
Victims, families, and criminal justice agencies often compete for a share of
the small payments people released from prisons and jails are able to make.

• Victims need restitution to compensate for their monetary
losses. And though most states have established their
compensation as a “right,” victims often do not receive the
amounts owed to them.25
• Children whose parents are incarcerated require financial
support, yet nearly half of these children’s caregivers received
government assistance to meet basic needs.26

funding sources of the
travis county (texas)
probation department
Probation
Fees
46%

State
Funds
54%

• Criminal justice agencies are increasingly fee-driven;
administrative assessments on citations fund nearly all of the
Administrative Office of the Court’s budget in Nevada.27 In
Texas, probation fees made up 46 percent of the Travis County
Probation Department’s $18.3 million budget in 2006.28
Within units of state and local government, policies governing the collection of
fines, fees, restitution, and child support are often at odds with one another, making it difficult for people released from prisons and jails to meet their financial
obligations.

• People released from prisons and jails typically must make payments to a host of
agencies, including probation departments, courts, and child support enforcement
offices. While coordinated collections efforts among these agencies could increase rates
of repayment to victims, families, and criminal justice agencies, there is rarely a single
agency tracking all of an individual’s court-ordered debts.29
• Federal law provides that a child support enforcement officer can garnish up to 65
percent of an individual’s wages for child support.30 At the same time, a probation officer
in most states can require that an individual dedicate
35 percent of his or her income toward the combined
probation violations committed
payment of fines, fees, surcharges, and restitution.
while under community supervision 33
• Staff working for distinct agencies often lack clear
guidelines as to how their collection efforts should be
prioritized; some agencies prioritize the collection of
fines, fees, or surcharges over restitution, while others
put the collection of restitution first.31
The inability of people released from prisons and jails
to meet their financial obligations can contribute to
their reincarceration.

8|

• A study of probation revocations found that 12 percent
were due at least in part to a failure to meet the financial
portion of probation supervision requirements.32

Type of probation violation

(%)*

Arrest for new offense

87

Failure to report to probation/
parole officer, absconding

37

Failure to pay fines, restitution,
or other financial obligation

12

Positive test for drug use

10

Leaving jurisdiction without
permission
Number of individuals

8
42,777

Percentages total more than 100% because some
*people
had more than one type of probation violation.

Policy Statements and
Recommendations

|9

policy statement

1

Identify state and local laws and policies that address court orders
for child support, victim restitution, and other fines, fees, and
surcharges and determine how these laws and policies are used
to govern collections made from people released from prisons and
jails.

Laws and policies that govern what financial obligations may be imposed

on a person sentenced to prison or jail vary significantly from one state to another,
and across the cities and counties within a given state. For example, some states
prioritize the collection of fines and fees over that of restitution, while others place
the collection of restitution first. Similarly, some states permit the suspension of child
support orders during periods of incarceration while others do not. At the local level,
cities or counties within a state often impose different kinds of fines, fees, and surcharges to fund local community corrections, treatment, and training programs.
Furthermore, courts, probation departments, and other agencies within a city,
county, or state responsible for collecting money that someone incarcerated or
released to the community owes often collect these debts separately and do not share
information or resources. Accordingly, administrators of one criminal justice agency
(such as a court or probation department) typically are uncertain how the collections
practices of multiple agencies relate to one another.
To help state and local government officials better understand how the system(s)
currently work, the following three recommendations explain how the multidisciplinary working group (see Where does one start?, page 4) can (1) develop a list of
questions to guide the information-gathering process and engage all of its members
to answer these questions; (2) organize the information that the members compile in
response to these questions into reports, case studies, and diagrams; and (3) use the
information to inform the development of a strategic plan.

a | Develop a list of questions to elicit key information about how

collections are made pursuant to existing laws and policies and
engage members of a multidisciplinary working group to answer
these questions.

Navigating the vast landscape of different agencies’ collections practices and policies can be a daunting task. The following list of questions should provide a useful
starting point for the working group. Some of these questions may be more difficult
to answer than others. The working group should select questions it thinks will be
particularly useful and then add any questions of its own that would be especially
relevant to its jurisdiction.

| 11

repaying debts

The members of the working group will likely have the expertise needed to
answer many of these questions; some may need to look no further than the staff,
policies, and publications of their own agencies for answers. At the same time, even
veteran court or probation staff may be unable to list, for example, all of the fines,
fees, and surcharges in a given city, county, or state. To ensure that key questions
are answered, the policymaker responsible for convening the working group should
assign various members of the group the task of answering the questions that pertain
to their fields of expertise.
To conduct an inventory of relevant statutes within a particular city, county, or state,
policymakers should consult a range of sources, such as relevant government Web
sites, law libraries, and legislative search engines.* As mentioned in the Introduction,
working group members should also look to the reports federal agencies, such as the

* While most fines, fees, and surcharges will likely be found in the criminal, corrections, and judicial codes, others—

such as the fee for driving while intoxicated—will be located in the municipal or vehicle and traffic code. State and local
government Web sites can be helpful for finding specific statutes, while law libraries and legislative search engines
can be useful for doing broad searches to find mention of specific key words. For example, the words “restitution” and
“priority” could be used to find the priority with which restitution is collected and disbursed among other financial
obligations within a given city, county, or state. Other terms that may prove effective include fines, fees, surcharges,
penalties, costs, restitution, and assessments.

Sample Questions to Ask When Reviewing
State and Local Collections Policies
Factors affecting the collection, distribution, and
prioritization of various financial obligations

Factors affecting the ability of people released from
prisons and jails to meet their financial obligations

• Who is responsible for collecting restitution, fines,
fees, surcharges, and other court-ordered financial
obligations?

• What types of debts does a typical individual
released from prison or jail owe?

• How do agencies responsible for collections
coordinate their efforts?
• Does any agency consolidate non–child support
debts (i.e., restitution, fines, fees, and surcharges)?
• How do state laws prioritize the collection of fines,
fees, and restitution?
• What percentage of court-ordered financial obligations that are assessed is successfully collected?
• What percentage of dollars is successfully directed
to their intended recipients?
• To what extent do state and local court, corrections,
training, treatment, and general fund budgets rely
on fines, fees, and surcharges to cover operational
costs?
• How do judges and probation and parole staff incorporate the payment of financial obligations into the
conditions of release or supervision for individuals
on probation or parole?

12 |

• Do judges transform outstanding restitution orders
into a civil case when the sentence (i.e., period of
probation or parole) of someone who owes restitution is completed?

• Which financial obligations are mandatory, and
which are discretionary?
• Who has the authority to change, reduce, or waive
fines, fees, and surcharges?
• What are the state’s Office of Child Support Enforcement policies on collecting or modifying child
support orders for noncustodial parents who are
incarcerated?
• To what extent does a person’s failure to meet one
or more court-ordered financial obligations contribute to his or her revocation of parole or probation?
• Do judges and agencies responsible for collections
provide nonmonetary or in-kind options for payment (e.g., community service)?
• How are individuals supported in their efforts to
meet their financial obligations to victims and
families during periods of incarceration and upon
release from prison or jail?

policy statement 1

Office of Child Support Enforcement, and national membership organizations, such
as the National Center for State Courts, have released that include examples of relevant
state and local policies and laws.

b | Organize this information into three types of documents that

policymakers can use to develop a strategic plan: reports, case
studies, and diagrams.

Answers to the questions of the working group will likely generate a lot of information that may be difficult for other members of the group to analyze. To organize this
information in a meaningful way, the working group should develop three types of
documents: reports, case studies, and diagrams.*
Reports

To answer the questions about relevant laws and policies, members of the working
group should prepare reports that provide an inventory or analysis of specific governing authorities and practices. For example, in a given jurisdiction these reports could
cover the range of state and local fines, fees, and surcharges; child support policies
relating to people who are incarcerated or recently released from prisons and jails;
and/or the percentage of all financial obligations assessed that is successfully collected.
Court Costs and Fees Study, Sunset Advisory Commission, Texas
In 2005, the Texas legislature reviewed the collections practices of courts statewide and found
that the courts were unable to provide information about what percentage of the total court fines
and fees assessed were actually collected. To gather this information, the legislature required the
Sunset Advisory Commission, a legislative review body, to study the purpose, collection, and use
of court costs and fees. In its report to the legislature, the commission listed state and local court
costs and fees and provided a series of case studies illustrating the costs associated with various
offenses, including a minor traffic violation and a driving while intoxicated offense.34

Case Studies

The working group should develop one or more case studies to ground its discussion
and connect the various types of financial obligations owed by people released from
prisons and jails with people’s ability to meet their obligations to victims and families.
A case study should describe a typical person released from prison or jail and list the
types of court-ordered financial obligations that he or she would owe for a common
conviction, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI), larceny, or assault.
In addition to criminal sanctions, the case study should describe the individual’s
child support obligations, if any. Together, these will illustrate the types of courtordered financial obligations that an individual would be trying to meet during the
period of his or her sentence.

* Although policymakers in numerous states have engaged in answering some of these questions, none has completed
all of the steps listed here. This recommendation draws heavily on the experiences of two of these states: Texas and
New York.

| 13

repaying debts

Court-Ordered Financial Obligations Case Study,
Center for Community Alternatives, New York
The Center for Community Alternatives developed the following case study, based on New York law,
to illustrate all of the court-ordered financial obligations that an individual would make payments
toward during the period of his sentence. These include the fines, fees, surcharges, and restitution
associated with his conviction, and his weekly child support payments.*
John, age 29, had recently been released from jail when, after refusing a chemical test, he was convicted of driving while intoxicated, a class E felony, and driving with no insurance, a misdemeanor. He was
sentenced to 5 years of probation. Restitution was ordered for damage to a parked car. John also has two children, who were placed into the custody of his mother while John was in jail. John’s mother received Temporary
Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and was required to petition John for child support. John had to meet
the following court-ordered financial obligations during the period of his probation sentence:

financial obligations associated with a driving while intoxicated conviction, new york
Mandatory Fine for Felony DWI Conviction
Mandatory Felony Surcharge
Crime Victim Assistance Fee
Probation Supervision Fee

$1,000
$250
$20
$ 1,800

($30/month)

Ignition Interlock Device
Driver Responsibility Assessment
Restitution
Surcharge for Collecting Restitution

$750
$1,000
$50

(5 percent)

Civil Penalty (Zero Tolerance DWI)

$125

Subtotal

Fee for Termination of License Revocation

$100

Child Support Payments
($100/week for 5 years)

$26,000

Total

$34,795

Surcharge for Vehicle and Traffic Law
Conviction

$25

Civil Penalty for No Insurance

$750

Civil Penalty for Chemical Test Refusal
with Prior Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192
Conviction within 5 Years

$750

Diagrams

To complement the case study above, the working group should develop a diagram
that illustrates the collections practices of multiple agencies and their relationships
to each other. Including details in the chart, such as how each agency establishes
payment schedules and amounts, the degree to which they coordinate their collections efforts, how collections are prioritized, and how dollars are disbursed to their
intended recipients would be particularly useful to working group partners.
Multiagency Collections Diagram, Travis County, Texas
CSG Justice Center staff and consultants prepared a diagram (featured on the following page) to
illustrate the relationships between the multiple agencies responsible for collecting court-ordered
financial obligations from people released from prisons and jails in a sample jurisdiction.

In addition to a diagram of the relationships among multiple agencies, it would
be useful to depict the collections practices within a particular agency, such as how
the probation department or court assesses an individual’s ability to meet his or her
financial obligations, establishes payment schedules, notifies individuals of payments
due, and handles instances of nonpayment.

14 |

$2,175

* This case study was reprinted with permission by The Center for Community Alternatives. It also informed a broader
report that the New York Bar Association submitted to the state legislature on the various consequences of criminal
proceedings on reentry. To retrieve the full report, entitled Re-Entry and Reintegration: The Road to Public Safety, Report and
Recommendations of the Special Committee on Collateral Consequences of Criminal Proceedings, see www.nysba.org.

$8,795

policy statement 1

Multiagency Collections Diagram,
Travis County, Texas

Court-Ordered
Financial Obligation

Is Court
Order
Criminal or
Civil?

Criminal

Court Costs
Fines
Restitution

Attorney Fees
Crimestopper Fee
Special Programs Fees
Supervision Fees
Transaction Fees

Felony

Civil

Child Support

Felony or
Misdemeanor
Misdemeanor?

Agency Responsible
for Collection

Agency Responsible
for Collection

probation
department

probation
department

Collects court costs,
restitution, fines,
and all fees

Collects restitution,
supervision fees, and
transaction fees

county
tax office
Collects court costs,
fines, attorney
fees, crimestopper
fee, and special
programs fees

Agency Responsible
for Collection
No
coordinated
effort
between
agencies

attorney
general
Collects child
support for
qualifying parents
(e.g., TANF
recipients)

travis county
domestic
relations
office
Collects child
support for all
other parents

Centralized Disbursement Center

custodial
parent
Fund Disbursement

probation
department
Receives
supervison
fees and
transaction
fees

county

state

victim

Receives court
costs, fines,
attorney fees,
and special
programs fees

Receives court
costs, special
programs
fees, and
crimestopper
fee

Receives
restitution

There is no prioritization system for fund disbursement

| 15

repaying debts

Single Agency Collections Diagram, Collections Improvement Program,
Office of Court Administration, Texas
To illustrate the principles of its Collections Improvement Program, the Texas Office of Court
Administration developed a diagram depicting the course of action that court administrators take
at each juncture in the collections process, beginning with determining whether an individual is
able to pay in full at sentencing, and ending with the consequences of noncompliance with the
court’s orders.*

c | Develop an informed strategic plan for making improvements to the

existing system based on the working group’s assessment of state
and local laws and policies.

Using the in-depth reports developed by members of the working group, case studies, diagrams, and other research that has been gathered, policymakers can begin to
identify problem areas for potential policy intervention. With this information and
other resources mentioned in this guide, policymakers can engage the working group
in identifying policy options and exploring their feasibility.
For example, policymakers could discover that agencies responsible for collections are not consistently determining the ability of people released from prisons
and jails to meet their court-ordered financial obligations and that people with ample
financial resources may be paying less than they are able, while those with little ability to pay are given unrealistic payment plans that threaten long-term collections.
In response to this finding, policymakers and other members of the working group
could decide to require the use of a standardized form for assessing an individual’s
income, assets, and expenses, and establish guidelines for using this information to
develop a payment plan. As another example, the working group could find that collections are inconsistent among courts and decide to mandate that court administrators implement a proven collections program.
Mandatory Collections Improvement Program, Select City and County Courts, Texas
As part of its review of court collections policies in 2005, the Texas state legislature found that a
voluntary Collections Improvement Program, developed by the state Office of Court Administration and being implemented in a handful of courts statewide, was effective in increasing compliance with court-ordered financial obligations.35 The legislature passed a bill requiring cities
and counties with population levels above a certain threshold to implement the program and to
provide annual reports about their collections practices. As a sanction for courts’ noncompliance,
the legislation denied the long-standing ability of city and county courts to retain 10 percent of the
dollars they collected.36

Having gathered and organized information about collections policies, practices,
and problems in their jurisdiction, policymakers should look to the policy statements,
recommendations, and other resources in this guide for strategies to address the
problems they have identified.

16 |

* The Collections Improvement Program flowchart can be retrieved at www.courts.state.tx.us/oca/collections/
model_concept_flowchart.pdf.

policy statement

2

Coordinate—and ideally integrate—distinct agencies’ policies,
procedures, and information systems so that the fines, fees,
surcharges, and restitution orders of each person sentenced
to prison or jail are consolidated to improve collection rates,
where possible, and child support and restitution are prioritized
appropriately.

In every state, people released from prisons and jails make payments to a

host of agencies, including probation, courts, and child support enforcement offices.
Furthermore, in many jurisdictions, courts and probation departments often contract
with private companies to pursue delinquent cases. Each of these agencies typically
has different priorities and collection methods, and there is rarely one agency that
tracks the collection of every debt assessed to an individual. Nor does any single
agency assume responsibility for providing people with a summary of the status of all
of their outstanding obligations.
For example, an individual might owe payment for court fines to several different
courts; supervision fees to a probation department; child support to a child support
enforcement office; and restitution to a victim services agency, probation office, or
court administrator. Without any one agency keeping track of these debts collectively, many of the debts remain, not surprisingly, unpaid. Their expectations unmet,
victims and families who anticipated receiving some reimbursement and expression
of accountability from the person sentenced become understandably frustrated and
angry.
Debts often remain unpaid at least partly because staff working for distinct
agencies do not have clear guidelines as to how their collection efforts should be
prioritized. With the exception of child support, which federal law prioritizes above
all other obligations to victims or the state,37 states have considerable leeway when
prioritizing among the collection and disbursement of restitution, fines, fees, and
surcharges. Many states, for example, have enacted laws that prioritize payment of
victim restitution over other non-child support debts. A number of states, however,
collect fines, fees, and surcharges before restitution.*
While child support collection cannot be consolidated with other financial obligations,38 there are opportunities for simplifying their collection that are often missed.
To capitalize on these opportunities, policymakers should decide how to coordinate
the collection of financial obligations from people released from prisons and jails to
ensure that returning prisoners can first meet their obligations to victims and families. Even in cases where individuals do not owe child support or restitution, policies

* States that prioritize restitution include Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. States that
prioritize other fines, fees, or surcharges include Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, and Georgia.

| 17

repaying debts

should encourage long-term repayment by providing realistic financial conditions of
their sentence.
Policymakers can pursue a number of strategies for improving and coordinating
collections practices, including determining financial sanctions in one lump sum and
setting priorities for disbursement, consolidating collection efforts, providing sufficient resources to agencies responsible for collections to pursue unmet obligations,
keeping individuals apprised as to the status of their payment efforts, capping collections at a set rate, and calculating realistic payment plans.

a | Calculate, at the time of sentencing, the sum of the restitution, fines,

fees, and other surcharges that the person should be assessed.*

To hold people accountable and to ensure that they can and will meet the financial
obligations assessed at the time of sentencing, judges should determine one sum
that an individual should pay as a sanction for his or her crime(s). Judges can then
work backward to divide the sum among its intended recipients, including victims
(in the form of restitution) and criminal justice agencies (in the form of fines, fees,
and surcharges).
Sentencing Statute, Washington State
Washington State’s sentencing statute (Rev. Code 9.94A.760) requires that judges, at the time of
sentencing or during a subsequent order, designate the total amount of a legal financial obligation and separate this amount into segments toward the payment of restitution, costs, fines, and
other assessments. Judges are also required to consider the individual’s assets, earnings, and total
potential debt when determining the full financial sanction.

* Child support is determined by federal standards, is not a criminal sanction, and cannot be determined as part
of this sum.

Federal Child Support Enforcement Policies and Reentry
• Federal law prioritizes child support obligations
above all other debts owed to the state, including
restitution, fines, fees, and surcharges.39

18 |

• Child support is determined by federal standards
and administered by designated state child support enforcement agencies (which may be housed
within a state’s attorney general’s office, health
department, or social service agency); its collection cannot be consolidated with that of restitution, or court-ordered fines, fees, and surcharges.40
Where possible and legally permissible, agencies
responsible for consolidating debts should communicate regularly with state or local child support
enforcement officials to determine the amount of
an individual’s child support obligations and factor
this into the schedule and amount of his or her payments toward court-ordered financial obligations.

• Federal law prohibits child support enforcement
agencies from reducing child support debts owed
to custodial parents once these debts have accumulated. Federal law does, however, allow states to
forgive child support payments that noncustodial
parents are required to pay to reimburse the state
for TANF payments to support the child.41
• Child support enforcement officials can garnish
as much as 65 percent of a noncustodial parent’s
wages toward the payment of child support debt.42
For parents released from prisons and jails, this
practice may increase the difficulty of securing and
maintaining housing, transportation, and employment that are necessary for making future child
support payments.

policy statement 2

To gather the information needed to determine the total amount of the sanction,
court personnel should list all of the fines, fees, and restitution requirements that
apply in each case as per state or local statute. In addition, the court should gather
documentation from the individual of his or her past, present, and future earnings,
assets, debts, job skills, educational level, health issues, and disabilities.
With this information, and taking the above recommendations into account,
judges should determine what would be an appropriate sum and include payment
of this sum as one of the conditions of the sentence or condition of release.
In cases where an individual is able to work but is unemployed and has little
or no assets, the judge should assume that the individual will earn the prevailing
minimum wage, unless the evidence suggests otherwise. The same standard should
apply in cases where the criminal conviction makes it unlikely that the individual will
return to his or her earning level prior to incarceration.

b | Give priority to the children and victims of people released from

prisons and jails at the time of sentencing and when disbursing
payments to their intended recipients.

As mentioned previously, child support is not a criminal sanction, and it is prioritized by federal law over obligations a person may owe to victims or the state. People
released from prison and jail owing child support, restitution, and fines, fees, and
surcharges, and with little earnings, may nevertheless feel compelled to choose which
payment not to make. In addition, as also noted earlier, some states have policies that
direct payments first to courts, corrections departments, and other criminal justice
agencies before they direct payments to victims for restitution. In these cases, victims
may feel ignored as they watch the person make payments to governmental agencies
and wait for the restitution owed to them.
For these reasons, policymakers should enable judges to consider an individual’s
obligations to his or her children at the time of sentencing. Policymakers should also
enable personnel responsible for distributing dollars collected from people released
from prisons and jails to prioritize, after child support, the payment of restitution to
victims before obligations to criminal justice agencies, third parties (such as insurance companies), or the city, county, or state.
Sentencing and Restitution Statutes, Wisconsin
Wisconsin’s sentencing statute (Wis. Stat. 302.373) enables judges, when ordering that an individual pay fees to reimburse the state for the costs of his or her incarceration, to reduce this order
by the amount of that individual’s child support obligations. A separate, restitution statute (Wis.
Stat. 973.20) prioritizes the payment of restitution to victims over other obligations to the state,
including fines, fees, and the costs of representation.

c | Designate a single agency to consolidate fines, fees, surcharges,

and restitution into one centrally managed debt and keep victims,
families, criminal justice agencies, and the individual returning to
the community informed about the status of its collection.

People released from prisons and jails are often unaware of their total debt, and do
not know to whom they should pay it. Victims and families are also often unaware
of what portion of restitution or child support they can realistically expect to be paid

| 19

repaying debts

and when to expect these payments. This situation often generates frustration among
victims and family members, as well as among the people who are indebted, who do
not know when, if ever, they will satisfy their financial obligations in full.
Once the judge has established the amount of the total sanction, and divided that
sum among its various intended recipients, staff working on behalf of various agencies responsible for collections must coordinate their efforts. To simplify and improve
the efficiency of collection practices, policymakers should designate one of these
agencies—whether the probation department, the office of court administration, the
state’s supreme court, or another agency—to coordinate and consolidate the fines,
fees, surcharges, and restitution that people released from prisons and jails owe.
Intensive Supervision Program, Adult Probation Department, New Jersey
The New Jersey Adult Probation Department consolidates the debts of people under probation
supervision and charges its staff with ensuring that people under intensive supervision meet all of
their financial obligations. Staff collect information about all of an individual’s debts from various
courts and direct payments toward restitution and other financial obligations simultaneously.
Judges determine how payments are proportioned but prioritize child support, a victim compensation program, and restitution, respectively.43

Staff of the consolidating agency (such as caseworkers at the prison or jail, court
personnel, or community corrections staff) should provide people at appropriate
times (including at sentencing, when the community supervision plan is developed,
and immediately prior to release), with the following relevant information in writing:
• The total amount of each debt and the extent to which it has been “paid down.”
• A payment schedule that includes the amount and date of the first payment and
the amounts and timing of subsequent payments.
• Clear information as to where payments should be submitted.
• A schedule of probation or court reporting hours, with flexible provisions that
do not conflict with an individual’s ability to maintain employment.
• Information about how a person can authorize automatic deductions from
his or her wages to facilitate the payment of debts.
• An opportunity to pay fines, fees, surcharges, and restitution at the time of
sentencing.
• A list of the graduated sanctions, including reincarceration, that staff will use
in response to nonpayment and a list of incentives for payment.
• What to do in the event of a change in financial circumstances due to a loss
of employment, injury, disability, or other special condition.
The agency responsible for consolidating collections should compile this information in a centralized filing system or database and ensure that this information
follows individuals through their sentencing, incarceration, release, and community
supervision. The consolidating agency should also provide victims, criminal justice
agencies, and people released from prisons and jails who owe fines, fees, surcharges,
and restitution with regular updates about the total amount owed and the dates and
amounts of expected payments.
Offender Obligation System, Department of Corrections, Utah

20 |

The Utah Department of Corrections uses an automated accounting system to link probation,
parole, and court records throughout the state to track the centralized collection of restitution

policy statement 2

while individuals are incarcerated or under community supervision. The Offender Obligation System generates monthly statements to remind individuals under correctional supervision as to the
status of their restitution payments and the amount of the next payment that is due. Victims may
inquire about the status of restitution payments by telephone from anywhere within the state.44

d | Provide the agency responsible for managing collections with the

resources and organizational supports—such as dedicated staff time,
reduced caseloads, and access to information about people’s debts
and employment—it needs to maximize the efficiency of collections.

Personnel in agencies responsible for collections are often spread thin; it is not
unusual for community supervision staff to handle caseloads of more than 100
individuals.45 Personnel working for agencies charged with consolidating debts must
draw on information from multiple sources. Depending on the degree to which information is shared efficiently among distinct agencies, this process can be especially
time- and staff-intensive. For many staff members, assuming these responsibilities
in addition to their other job duties is impossible; their caseloads are already extraordinarily high, and they may lack the skills or the authority to use information systems
to detail people’s various debts, employment status, or other personal financial
information.
For these reasons, administrators of agencies charged with consolidating collections should dedicate specific staff to collections or reduce caseloads to enable all staff
to better incorporate collections into their job duties. Reducing caseloads will likely
require additional resources. The American Probation and Parole Association has
identified a ratio of one officer to every 30 supervised individuals as the minimum
necessary for adequate supervision of high-risk individuals.46 This ratio may not be
realistic or necessary, however, for people under community supervision who are at
low risk for committing a new crime. Such individuals, where appropriate, can potentially be moved to “collections-only” caseloads, thus requiring fewer staff resources.47
Indeed, dedicating specific staff to collections may be less resource-intensive than
reducing caseloads across the board. Agencies that withhold a small portion (such as
5 or 10 percent) of successful collections to pay for the costs of collections staff can
recoup personnel costs.48 With either approach, personnel who establish a rapport
with people under community supervision may be able to improve collection rates.
Agencies responsible for collections often have significant backlogs of collections
cases. Substantial resources are expended pursuing old cases with little potential
return. To enable staff to prioritize current collections over past arrears, administrators should develop criteria for determining when an outstanding debt is uncollectible because time spent on pursuing the collection will outweigh considerably the
value of the debt being pursued. With the exception of restitution, staff performance
should not be based on the collection of small, outstanding debts from individuals no
longer under community supervision.
Collections Audit, Office of the State Auditor, New Jersey
In 2004, the New Jersey state auditor reviewed probation records and found that, among
180,000 outstanding cases, approximately 6,000 people on probation owed sums under $25,
and an additional 20,000 people owed between $25 and $100.49 The auditor recommended
creating collections-only probation cases for amounts between $25 and $100 and writing off as
losses amounts under $25 for people no longer under probation supervision. Accordingly, the New

| 21

repaying debts

Jersey adult probation department does not base its staff performance evaluations on the collection of debts that have been deemed “uncollectible.”50

To enable staff to determine an individual’s total debts, administrators of agencies
responsible for collections should establish information-sharing agreements, such as
memoranda of understanding (MOUs), which authorize the consolidating agency to
collect information about an individual’s debts from all of the various parties to which
he or she is indebted. The agreement should specify what information each participating agency will provide to the consolidating agency and at what intervals this
information will be updated.
The consolidating agency should also develop information-sharing agreements
with the Social Security Administration and with state and local departments of labor,
health, and human services to secure birth, death, disability, and employment information. Agencies should collect this information with the sole purpose of adjusting
or suspending payment schedules that best ensure longer-term repayment in the
event of changes that affect an individual’s financial status, such as unemployment
or disability.
Information-Sharing Statute, Washington State
Washington State’s information-sharing statute (Rev. Code Wash. 9.94A.760 (13)) permits
the county clerk to access employment records to verify employment or income, to seek wage
garnishment, and to perform other duties necessary for the collection of restitution, fines, fees,
and surcharges. Clerks add this information to an integrated judicial information system, which
includes municipal and superior courts, to track payments toward the total, consolidated debt
that an individual owes.

e | Cap the percentage of an individual’s assets that can be collected

for a given period toward the fulfillment of his or her court-ordered
financial obligations to help ensure long-term compliance and
discourage illegal activities to support repayment.

It is conceivable, and even probable, that collectors representing multiple agencies could demand that 100 percent of an individual’s income be applied toward the
payment of court-ordered financial obligations, leaving him or her with no living
expenses. As previously discussed, by law a child support enforcement officer could
garnish up to 65 percent of an individual’s income for child support. At the same
time, a separate court or probation officer could require that an individual dedicate 35
percent of his or her income toward the combined payment of fines, fees, surcharges,
and restitution.
Such a situation could inadvertently encourage a person to return to the behavior
and illegal activities that resulted in the person’s incarceration in the first place. In
other words, aggressive collectors representing distinct agencies could end up contributing to a person’s failure to meet his or her financial obligations and, by extension, their revocation of probation or parole.
To avoid these situations, policymakers should cap the portion of an individual’s
income that can be collected in a given period toward the payment of fines, fees,
surcharges, and restitution at less than or equal to 20 percent. At the same time, policies should provide for the possibility that the offender has sufficient resources to pay
22 |

policy statement 2

more than 20 percent of their income toward fines, fees, surcharges, and restitution
and enable judges and staff from agencies responsible for collections to waive the cap.
Community Supervision Statute, Parole and Post-Prison Board, Oregon
Oregon’s community supervision statute (Ore. Adm. Rule 255-065-0005(5)) caps the amount of
an individual’s income that parole and post-prison supervision officers can collect toward courtordered financial obligations. Collections are capped at 20 percent of a person’s take-home salary,
unless the person has significant savings or assets that would permit larger amounts, in which
case the cap is waived.51

f | Calculate realistic payment schedules.

In order to hold people returning from prisons and jails accountable for their financial obligations, reentry strategies should include payment plans that recognize when
individuals returning home have very little income—which is typically the case for
someone just released from a corrections facility. The plan should then be adjusted
to ensure larger payments as soon as the person released from prison or jail finds
and maintains work or increases his or her income. At the same time, payments may
need to be adjusted downward if the person loses employment, becomes disabled, is
hospitalized, or is in similar special circumstances that make him or her unable to
make scheduled payments.
To monitor these situations, and to ensure that the payment plan is adjusted
for legitimate reasons, the collection agent should conduct periodic reviews of the
person’s situation. This review would include an analysis of the person’s total assets,
including wages, savings, investments, and property. This sum should be contrasted
with an inventory of the individual’s monthly basic living expenses, such as rent, utilities, food, clothing, medical care, transportation, and insurance.
By subtracting from the individual’s total assets the list of his or her most basic
living expenses (and allowing a small cushion for emergencies), collection personnel
can determine the amount of expendable income. In addition, personnel can identify
potential areas for reallocation from living expenses towards the payment of courtordered debts, such as cable television subscriptions or other forms of entertainment.
Whenever a change in the payment plan is made, the collection agent should inform
the affected victim and the family.
Restitution Statute, New Mexico
New Mexico’s restitution statute (N.M. Stat. 31-17-1 (E)) requires the probation or parole officer,
and the court, to consider the following factors when reviewing the restitution plan: the physical
and mental health of the individual; his or her age, education, employment circumstances, potential for employment, family circumstances, and financial condition; the damages to each victim;
and what plan of restitution will most effectively aid the individual’s rehabilitation.

| 23

policy statement

3

Enact child support enforcement policies that encourage parents
released from prisons and jails to maintain legitimate employment
that will help them provide long-term support to their children.

Child support payments serve as an important means for parents who do

not live with their children to fulfill their responsibility to them and to contribute to
the costs of childrearing. In most states, parents who are incarcerated remain legally
responsible for complying with their child support orders. And, although it is true
that a child’s needs for financial support do not diminish just because a parent is
incarcerated, it is also true that most parents who are incarcerated have little or no
ability to meet their child support obligations.52
Prison-based employment programs are limited in scope, and wages (e.g., $0.23
per hour) are not comparable to what is paid in the community,53 making it nearly
impossible to raise the typical $225–$300 monthly child support payment in most
cases.54 Some parents have been shown to owe more than $20,000 when they are
released from prison.55
Research highlights the importance of programs that, in appropriate situations,
facilitate and strengthen family connections during incarceration.56 Parents who
make regular child support payments are likely to have improved familial ties that
can help reduce recidivism and restore stability.57 Realistic payment amounts can also
help to ensure long-term payment compliance. Unless suspended or reduced during
incarceration, accumulated child support debt can interfere with family reunification
in desired circumstances, and undermine a parent’s efforts to retain regular, legal
employment that will be a source for ongoing child support payments upon release
from prison or jail.58
The recommended strategies that follow are designed to improve people’s ability to meet their child support obligations after their release from prisons and jails.
These include authorizing the reduction or suspension of child support obligations
during periods of incarceration when there are insufficient assets; sharing information among corrections and child support enforcement agencies; and using enforcement methods that promote employment and long-term payment of child support.*

* The recommendations in Policy Statement 3 primarily address state-level policies because child support is

administered on a state level by a single, designated child support enforcement agency. However, many of these
recommendations can be implemented at a local level with state support.

| 25

repaying debts

a | Authorize modifications of child support orders for prisoners who are

noncustodial parents and who have no assets or income from which
to make payments during the period of incarceration to improve the
chances for long-term child support payment.

In almost half of the states in the United States, child support enforcement policies
categorize incarceration as “voluntary unemployment,” a designation used when
someone has chosen not to work.59 In states that classify incarceration as “voluntary
unemployment,” a person’s child support order may not be modified when he or she
enters prison or jail.
A state’s classification of incarceration as voluntary unemployment is typically
included in the state’s child support guidelines used to set support orders. Federal law
requires states to periodically review these guidelines.60 Policymakers should consider whether to authorize modification of support obligations (up to and including
suspension) during incarceration with the objective of setting realistic payment plans
on release or as assets become available.
Child Support Statute, North Carolina
North Carolina’s child support statute (N.C. Gen. Stat. 50-13.10(d)) provides for the suspension of
child support orders during any period when the supporting party is incarcerated, is not on work
release, and has no resources with which to make payments.
Child Support Statute, Oregon
Oregon’s child support statute (Ore. Adm. Rule 137-055-3330) has established a presumption,
to which the custodial parent can object, which states that an incarcerated parent with income
of less than $200 per month is unable to pay any child support.

b | Notify child support collection agents when a noncustodial parent

has been incarcerated, and work with custodial parents to determine
appropriate child support orders during the period of incarceration.

26 |

Currently, most states do not have procedures in place to identify and track prisoners systematically with support orders, or to modify child support obligations during incarceration. Of those states that do provide for such modifications, one of the
parents often must engage in a confusing and time-consuming process to request the
court or child support enforcement agency to review and adjust the support order.
To assist families in setting realistic payment expectations, corrections administrators should ascertain a parent’s child support obligations upon admission to a correctional facility and establish mechanisms for notifying child support enforcement
officials when a noncustodial parent has been incarcerated.
Mechanisms for collecting this information include incorporating questions
about children and child support obligations into intake procedures and instituting
an automated data match or weekly population list exchange among corrections and
child support agencies. As discussed in Policy Statement 2, it is important for judges
and agencies responsible for collections to have access to information about all of an
individual’s court-ordered debts where it is legally permissible, even if, as in the case
of child support, those obligations cannot be consolidated with other debts.
Corrections administrators and child support enforcement officials should also
collaborate to inform incarcerated parents of their child support obligations, consult
with the custodial parent to determine appropriate modifications, and assist with

policy statement 3

modification orders, where appropriate. Modification should be contingent upon the
income of the incarcerated parent remaining below a certain threshold, (e.g., $200 per
month), and be subject to review upon release or as additional assets become available.
An appointed child support enforcement liaison or a specialized corrections caseworker may be the ideal person to perform the following functions:
• Interact with corrections personnel, custodial parents, and incarcerated parents.
• Distribute informational brochures on child support procedures.
• Make regular verbal and video presentations to explain child support responsibilities
and procedures to parents, corrections staff, and other criminal justice personnel.
• Facilitate the modification process, when appropriate.
When a modified child support order is appropriate and authorized by statute,
corrections administrators and child support enforcement officials should also
institute policies to assist with the process, such as providing noncustodial parents
with forms, addressed envelopes, and postage. Where called for, administrators may
consider instituting policies to modify support orders automatically when a parent is
admitted to prison or jail, unless the custodial parent objects when notified of a potential
modification, and reinstate the order when the noncustodial parent is released from
prison or jail or conditions change that warrant review.61
Child Support Modification Process, Department of Corrections, Massachusetts
The Department of Corrections (DOC) sends monthly a list of people who are incarcerated to
the Department of Revenue (DOR). DOR performs a data match to identify which people have
outstanding child support orders and then sends this list back to DOC. A DOR worker helps parents
submit a modification request to the court. DOR also informs court personnel of parents’ release
dates, so that child support modification orders can be reversed after parents are released.

c | Use child support enforcement mechanisms short of incarceration,

where appropriate, that hold the noncustodial parent accountable
but do not limit his or her ability to make future child support
payments.

As stated earlier, employment prospects for people released from prisons and jails are
typically dim. Noncustodial parents released from prison and jail owing child support
are also subject to paycheck garnishment, which sometimes discourages them from

Report on Working with Parents Who Are Incarcerated,
Office of Child Support Enforcement, U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services
The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement
(OCSE) released a report describing a number of local
and state initiatives to help parents who are incarcerated meet their child support obligations. The report,
“Working with Incarcerated and Released Parents:

Lessons from OCSE Grants and State Programs,” can
be retrieved at www.acf.hhs.gov/ programs/cse/
pubs/2006/ guides/ working_with_incarcerated_
resource_guide.pdf.

| 27

repaying debts

pursuing legitimate employment.62 A criminal record and history of incarceration
are not justifications for staying unemployed or engaging in illegal behavior; ensuring long-term support for children requires that parents find and maintain legitimate
employment.
To support the ability of noncustodial parents to find and sustain employment
upon release from prisons and jails, child support enforcement officers should help
connect parents re-entering the community with One-Stop employment centers, transitional employment, and other work programs.* When needed, officers should also
grant parents a 60-day post-release grace period to find employment before resuming
child support payments. To encourage regular payments, officers should prioritize
the collection of current payments over that of past arrears.
Child Support Statute, Oregon
Oregon’s child support statute (Ore. Rev. Stat. 416.425(9)) returns child support payment
amounts to pre-incarceration levels 60 days after a noncustodial parent is released from prison,
providing time for parents who have been released from prisons and jails to find employment.63

Child support enforcement officers should use driver’s license revocation as a
measure of last resort, and include flexible provisions for traveling to and from work
when revoking licenses. In addition, child support enforcement officials should prioritize payments that directly benefit the child over repayment of costs to the state for
providing financial assistance (TANF) to the child’s family.64

* The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 required jurisdictions to create One-Stops, which are comprehensive

28 |

career centers for people seeking training, education, and employment services. For more information about WIA,
or One-Stops, see www.doleta.gov. For more information about workforce development, employment, and
reentry, see the Employment and Education section of the Reentry Policy Council Web site at www.reentrypolicy.org.

policy statement

4

Ensure that victims receive the restitution they are owed.

When a person is the victim of a crime, he or she suffers a number of

losses, most of which cannot be quantified. For many victims, having financial losses
(such as destroyed property and lost income) repaid through restitution represents
a means of repairing one aspect of the damage wrought by the crime. In addition to
reimbursing victims for their financial losses, restitution demonstrates that the person who committed the crime is assuming responsibility for his or her actions.
Over the past 20 years, legislatures have increasingly recognized the right of
victims to financial restitution. Legislatures in every state have mandated through
laws or state constitutional amendments that courts order people convicted of crimes
to pay monetary restitution to victims in all cases where a loss can be documented.65
They have also created victim compensation funds to ensure that victims of crime
receive assistance with the costs associated with their losses, such as medical care and
counseling.66
Despite the value and emphasis lawmakers have placed on restitution, it is not
always ordered or enforced.67 This happens for multiple reasons: the victim may not
know his or her rights; law enforcement personnel may not collect information about
a victim’s financial losses; the prosecutor may not seek restitution; the judge may not
order restitution; or the agency responsible for collections may not pursue restitution. The recommendations that follow detail a number of methods for ensuring that
victims receive the compensation to which they are entitled. This includes educating
criminal justice staff, victims, and people who owe restitution about the process of
restitution and its importance, pursuing civil remedies for outstanding payments,
and garnishing taxes and wages.

a | Order restitution in all appropriate cases and emphasize its

importance in regular training sessions for the staff of probation
departments, courts, and other agencies responsible for enforcing
restitution orders.

In some cases, prosecutors and judges may be reluctant to recommend or order restitution because it appears that the individual who has been convicted of the crime
is unlikely to be able to make immediate payments. While this may be true, individuals who cannot pay restitution in full may be able to make regular, partial payments
and may become more able to meet their restitution obligations over time with

| 29

repaying debts

employment and other assistance. Indeed, consistent, small payments can be more
important than periodic large payments in ensuring full payment of financial obligations in the long run.
For these reasons, judges and prosecutors should order and pursue restitution in
all cases where it is appropriate. In cases where a victim does not wish to collect restitution, policymakers should establish mechanisms to pass restitution along to the
recipient of the victim’s choice, such as a particular charitable organization.
Agency administrators should also provide regular training programs to emphasize the importance of victim restitution to criminal justice personnel. Training
should address methods for improving collections as well as guidelines for using
additional incentives and sanctions to encourage payment.
Training to Improve Restitution Management,
American Probation and Parole Association
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has awarded a cooperative agreement to the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) to develop and pilot test a curriculum for community corrections
and court services personnel on restitution management. For more information on this project or
the curriculum, visit APPA’s Web site at www.appa-net.org.

b | Educate victims about the restitution process, maintain updated

victim contact information, and keep victims apprised of the status
of restitution payments.

Victims are often unaware of their right to restitution, let alone how to pursue it. Even
when restitution is ordered and collected, monies often fail to reach victims because,
understandably, court or probation staff have trouble keeping victim contact information current.
Prosecutors, probation officers, court personnel, victim advocates, and staff from
the agency responsible for consolidating collections should employ a number of
methods to ensure that victims receive restitution:
• Provide victims with information about their rights to restitution and assistance
in documenting their losses through victim impact statements.68

The Difficulty of Maintaining Victim Contact Information

30 |

Maintaining victim contact information is difficult
because victims may move or be reluctant to share
their information out of fear for their safety. As this
happens, the likelihood diminishes of obtaining a
victim impact statement or ensuring that he or she
receives the restitution that is owed. The importance
of maintaining victim contact information warrants
the use of time-intensive methods to update these
records (e.g., telephone calls to family members, and
phone book and computer searches).

Victim Location, Community Supervision and
Corrections Department, Tarrant County, Texas
Community supervision staff use a computer service
database to conduct extensive, electronic searches
of marriage licenses, driver’s licenses, city utilities
records, nationwide telephone directories, and other
sources to locate victims who are owed restitution. In
1999, staff had successfully located 640 victims, who
received almost $400,000 in restitution.69

policy statement 4

• Collect victim contact information and ensure that an updated address and telephone number for the victim is maintained (or an alternative contact’s telephone
number for a victim who fears for his or her safety).
• Inform victims about what to expect during the criminal justice process, including
the amount and pace at which they can likely expect to receive restitution payments.
• Keep victims apprised of the status of restitution payments, including any changes
made in payment schedules.
Restitution payments of any size can be essential because they represent personal
accountability. At the same time, victims differ as to what payment size is sufficient
to demonstrate accountability. Staff from the consolidating agency responsible for
collections should consult victims when determining what amount warrants sending
a restitution payment and ensure that payments are of a reasonable size (e.g., more
than $30) before they are sent to victims.

c | Educate people who owe restitution about its importance.

People who owe restitution may not recognize the impact their crime has had on the
victim or appreciate the critical role restitution plays in reimbursing victims for financial losses that flow from the crime. To promote payment and to help people who owe
restitution appreciate the harm they have caused, corrections staff should provide
programming for people who have committed crimes (such as victim impact classes)
that emphasizes the importance of restitution and reparative activities to victims and
communities.
Impact of Crime on Victims Class, Department of Corrections, Arizona
As part of its Restorative Justice Initiative, the Arizona Department of Corrections is piloting victim
impact classes in 6 of its 10 prisons. The 10-week program is designed to help prisoners realize the
consequences of their past actions. As part of the program, victims make presentations to prisoners about how crimes such as robbery, substance abuse, drunk driving, and violence can affect
victims, and prisoners donate labor for victim service organizations.70

d | Assist crime victims who wish to pursue civil remedies for the

payment of restitution.

When a person completes his or her sentence without paying restitution in full,
victims are often left without recourse to pursue its collection. At the same time,
crime victims usually lack sufficient resources and familiarity with the justice
system to navigate complex civil courts.
To provide crime victims with an additional remedy to obtain restitution in cases
where an individual completes his or her penal sanctions without meeting his or her
restitution obligations, policymakers should enable judges to enter a civil judgment
for restitution.
Sentencing Statute, Washington State
Washington State’s sentencing statute (Rev. Code 9.94A.760) entitles the party to whom a
financial obligation is owed the authority to pursue that financial obligation in civil court.

| 31

repaying debts

Given the complexity of the legal system, agencies responsible for collections
should ensure that technical assistance is available to victims seeking restitution
claims in civil court, and pursue restitution on their behalf, whenever possible. Judges
should also use their discretion to make restitution an automatic civil judgment.
Restitution Statutes, Colorado
Colorado’s statutes (Col. Rev. Stats. 16-18.5-103(4) (a), 16-18.5-107(1), and 16-11-101.6(2))
make restitution an automatic civil judgment that is enforceable until it is paid in full (rather than
only while an individual who owes restitution is under criminal justice supervision). The statutes
also enable collections investigators to assist victims in pursuing restitution and allocates funds to
the judiciary and the Department of Corrections to collect restitution on behalf of victims.

e | Garnish wages and withhold state income tax returns from

individuals who owe restitution, when doing so does not
preclude the individual from meeting basic living expenses.

Federal law enables state child support enforcement officials to garnish wages to
collect child support, but courts and probation departments often lack the statutory
authority to pursue this enforcement method. Policymakers should enable agencies
responsible for collecting restitution to garnish wages and withhold state income tax
returns as payment of victim restitution from individuals who fail to pay restitution
but have sufficient earnings to do so.
State Income Tax Statute, Rhode Island
Rhode Island’s income tax statute (RIGL 44-30.1-3) enables the court to withhold state income tax
returns for the purposes of collecting child support, restitution, fines, fees, and amounts of public
benefits that the state may have overpaid to individuals.

32 |

policy statement

5

Make certain that new fines, fees, and surcharges do not reduce
the ability of people returning from prisons and jails to pay child
support and restitution.

In addition to child support and victim restitution, people released from

prisons and jails typically owe the wide variety of court fines, supervision fees, and
surcharges previously discussed. Such fines and fees have different definitions,
depending on the city, county, or state, as the glossary provided in this guide’s Introduction explains.
Typically fines, which may or may not be mandatory, are associated with the level
of offense, such as misdemeanor or felony, and the specific type of offense, such
as driving while intoxicated or assault. Fees, by contrast, are ordered to reimburse
criminal justice agencies or a jurisdiction’s general fund for services rendered (e.g.,
prosecution, indigent and public defense, incarceration, probation supervision, drug
testing, electronic monitoring, and court filing procedures).71 Surcharges are add-on
amounts that generate revenue for specific purposes (e.g., funds for law libraries,
retirement, and staff training) and are often unrelated to the crime.
Fines, fees, and surcharges, unlike child support and restitution, are financial
obligations to the city, county, or state—not to individuals. With a growing percentage
of criminal justice agencies’ budgets dependent upon revenue derived from the collection of these additional monies, tensions arise surrounding the priorities of these
agencies and the needs of victims and families who rely on individuals released from
prisons and jails for compensation and support.
For example, as illustrated in Policy Statement 1, a person convicted of driving
while intoxicated who damaged a parked car could owe nearly $8,000 in fines, fees,
and surcharges, in addition to the $1,000 restitution he or she would owe to the victim
whose car was damaged. As mentioned in Policy Statement 2, if this happened in one
of a number of states where fines, fees, and surcharges are collected before restitution,
the victim might wait years before receiving any compensation for his or her loss.
Resolving this situation presents a dilemma. Criminal justice agencies rely on the
revenue that fines and fees generate to cover a significant percentage of their operating costs. Administrative assessments on misdemeanor citations, for instance, fund
nearly all of the Administrative Office of the Court’s budget in Nevada.72 In Iowa,
fees paid by people under parole and probation supervision or work release make up
approximately 15 percent of the budgets of the state’s community corrections programs.73 Furthermore, elected officials want to be responsive to voters who require
accountability from people who have been convicted of crimes and express frustration
about how much it costs to administer court and corrections systems.
The current dilemmas notwithstanding, policymakers should be cautious of exacerbating the tensions that already exist among different agencies and individuals

| 33

repaying debts

due payment. To that end, the following recommendations discuss steps such as
preparing reentry impact statements when introducing legislation that contemplates
new or increased fines, fees, and surcharges and limiting the extent to which criminal
justice agencies rely on fee collection to support their operational costs.

a | Provide lawmakers who are considering legislation that would

impose or increase fines, fees, or surcharges with an impact
statement projecting the legislation’s effect on the ability of a
person released from prison or jail to meet his or her child support
and restitution obligations.

New fines, fees, and surcharges may be legislated in response to pressure from taxpayers to ensure that people convicted of crimes help contribute to prosecution and
incarceration costs, and to fund new criminal justice initiatives, such as a new problem-solving court or treatment program. While understandable, these actions can
have unintended consequences: the fines, fees, and surcharges already imposed on
people sentenced to prisons and jails can collectively impair people’s ability to meet
their financial obligations to their victims and families and to complete the conditions
of their sentence.
Before enacting new fines, fees, and surcharges, lawmakers should examine the
potential impact of the proposed legislation on the ability of a typical person released
from prison or jail to meet child support and restitution obligations and to complete
his or her sentence. Similar to an environmental impact statement, a reentry impact
statement would add the new fine, fee, or surcharge to the list of existing sanctions
(as described in Policy Statement 1). With this information and the input of community supervision staff, victims’ advocates, child support enforcement personnel,
and others, policymakers can determine whether the benefits of the new fine, fee, or
surcharge will outweigh its costs in terms of public safety and public spending. In
particular, policymakers can evaluate whether the inability of people released from
prisons and jails to meet this new obligation could potentially contribute to increased
rates of reincarceration.

b | Curb the extent to which the operations of criminal justice agencies

rely on the collection of fines, fees, and surcharges from people
released from prisons and jails.

34 |

Knowing the potential impact of a new financial sanction on the ability of a typical
person released from prison or jail to meet financial obligations will be helpful to
policymakers considering new legislation or balancing budget priorities. The challenge remains, however, to generate revenue sufficient to fund criminal justice
operations. Given the cautions provided in previous recommendations, policymakers
should limit the extent to which criminal justice agencies rely on new fines, fees, and
surcharges to operate. Doing so will likely require tough decisions. Nevertheless, the
limited ability of people released from prisons and jails to meet all of their financial
obligations, and the primacy of ensuring that these individuals remain able to pay
child support and restitution, means that policymakers must confront recent trends
and revisit how they are funding criminal justice operations.

policy statement

6

Establish a range of sanctions and incentives that agencies
responsible for collections can exercise when a person released
from prison or jail does not meet his or her child support and
court-ordered financial obligations.

People released from prisons and jails often fail to meet their financial

obligations. In some cases, individuals are unwilling—though able—to assume their
fiscal responsibilities to the victims of their crime and their families, as well as to the
criminal justice system. In these situations, appropriate responses include a range of
sanctions to compel payment, such as increased levels of supervision or incarceration.
At the same time, there are people who make every attempt to meet all of their
financial obligations, yet lack the necessary assets. These individuals, who typically
are unable to obtain employment (or employment with decent wages) because of
their limited education or marketable job skills often fall short of their goals to meet
their obligations. In exceptional cases, individuals who are indigent or disabled may
not be able to make any monetary payments but may want the opportunity to demonstrate their accountability to their victims, families, and communities.
The recommendations that follow address both those individuals unwilling to pay
and those people unable but trying to pay, suggesting sanctions for the former and
incentives or rewards for the latter, such as waivers of interest on accumulated debts.
These recommendations also suggest strategies to increase the earning capacity of
people with limited education or marketable job skills. They also promote the establishment of nonmonetary payment options, such as community service, for people
who are indigent or disabled.

a | Design sanctions, such as increased supervision and mandatory

service at a restitution center, to compel people under community
supervision to meet their financial obligations.

When evaluating an individual’s failure to meet his or her financial obligations, court
personnel, probation officers, and others responsible for enforcing collections must
make a determination: Has the individual had the financial resources to meet his or
her obligations, or the ability to work, and been unwilling to comply with the court’s
order? Or has the inability to find employment or another legitimate reason contributed to the individual’s failure to meet his or her financial obligations?
Court personnel, probation officers, and others responsible for enforcing collections who find that an individual is essentially disregarding the court’s orders should
consult victims and families and then initiate graduated sanctions as appropriate.
Options short of incarceration should be explored first because the limited ability

| 35

repaying debts

of prisoners to meet their financial obligations during periods of incarceration can
further delay payments of child support and restitution. While sanctions should be
applied consistently, they should also consider what the individual perceives to be a
significant sanction.
Agencies responsible for collections should provide individuals who are able and
unwilling to meet their financial obligations with a range of appropriate sanctions to
compel payment:*
• Written, verbal, and in-person reminders.
• In-depth financial assessments.
• Mandatory budget classes.
• Mandatory service in the community or at a restitution center.
Restitution Center, Department of Corrections, Multnomah County, Oregon
At the Multnomah County Restitution Center, residents live and work under community correctional
supervision and participate in educational, vocational, and behavioral programs. Their wages are collected and divided among a variety of expenses, including room and board, court fees, victim restitution payments, and family support.74

• Special appearances before a judge.
• Revocation of driving, hunting, and fishing licenses (with exemptions to find and
maintain employment).
• Restricted liberty (e.g., curfews, restrictions on interstate probation transfers, and
electronic monitoring).
Interstate Compact, Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision
The interstate compact agreement between the probation and parole departments of member states
requires that people under probation or parole supervision be in “substantial compliance” with the
requirements of supervision to qualify for a transfer of probation supervision to another state.75

* For more information on the use of incentives and sanctions in community supervision, see Policy Statement 29
of the Report of the Re-Entry Policy Council at www.reentrypolicy.org.

Financial Compliance Program, Adult Probation Department,
Maricopa County, Arizona
As part of the Financial Compliance Program, 14
full-time probation officers dedicated to collections
review individuals’ assets and obligations at the first
probation contact, set up payment plans, and advise
individuals of the sanctions associated with nonpayment. Probation officers employ a graduated list of
responses to nonpayment based on the number of
days a payment is delinquent:
• 15 days: written reminder of payment schedule and
amounts.
• 30 days: seven-page Payment Ability Evaluation
form—administrators report that the length of
the form alone often acts as a payment incentive.
36 |

• 60 days: mandatory five-week budgeting class—
administrators report that 80 percent of individuals

who reach this sanction make a payment to avoid
taking the budgeting class.
• 90 days: referral to a collection agent for further
monitoring.
• 180 days: referral by collection agent to probation
officer for intervention or probation revocation.
• 210 days: probation revocation for willful noncompliance with court-ordered financial sanctions if the
case remains unresolved.
Probation officers also use the revocation of driving,
hunting, and fishing licenses as a sanction. Administrators report that the use of incentives and sanctions
of personal importance to the individual has been a
particularly effective enforcement strategy.76

policy statement 6

This restriction specifically includes the payment of restitution and other court-ordered financial obligations and can act as either a sanction or an incentive for individuals who must meet their financial
obligations in order to qualify for a probation transfer to another state.

• Increased supervision, including reincarceration.

b | Develop a range of incentives, such as certificates of good conduct

and waivers of fines, fees, and surcharges to help people who are
willing to meet their financial obligations.

When individuals have served time in prisons and jails for their crimes and are making bona fide efforts to support their families and reimburse their victims, incentives
may be warranted to encourage them to meet their remaining obligations. The range
of incentives that agencies responsible for collections could offer includes the following options:
• Certificates of good conduct, achievement, or recognition.
• Reduced requirements of supervision (e.g., electronic monitoring, reporting frequency, travel restrictions) and, where appropriate, shorter length of time a person
must spend under supervision as he or she demonstrates responsible behavior and
meets his or her financial obligations.
Financial Compliance Program, Adult Probation Department, Maricopa County, Arizona
As part of the Financial Compliance Program, probation officers offer probationers who are at a low
risk for recidivism a number of incentives for payment. These include travel permits, less frequent
reporting requirements, transfer to reduced supervision caseloads (in which individuals can maintain
payments by mail rather than reporting in-person), and early termination of probation when the individual has fully met his or her court-ordered financial obligations.77

• Waiver of accrued interest on financial obligations.
Collections Statute, Washington State
Washington State’s collections statute (Was. Stat. 10.82.090 (2)) enables courts to forgive the interest on an individual’s financial obligations as an incentive for payment. Individuals qualify for a waiver if
they meet certain criteria, such as having made good-faith payment efforts and being likely to pay the
debt if the interest is forgiven.

• Waiver of fines, fees, and surcharges in cases where individuals meet some or
all of the following criteria:
– history of bona fide attempts to make payments to meet his or her financial
obligations.
– severe illness, injury, or inability to work or receipt of eligibility for disability
insurance.
– indigence.
Court Fees and Costs Waiver, All Courts, California
Individuals may apply to all courts in California for waivers of court costs and fees if they are receiving food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), TANF, or other public assistance; have earnings below an income threshold; or cannot pay for both basic life necessities and court costs and
fees. Applicants must provide proof of income, financial difficulty, and receipt of public benefits.78

| 37

repaying debts

c | Develop programs, such as job placement and training in personal

finance management, to increase the earning capacity of people
who have been unable to meet their financial obligations.

While some individuals require sanctions to compel payment, many others make
legitimate attempts to meet their financial obligations upon release from prison or
jail. These individuals, who typically are unable to obtain employment (or employment with decent wages) because of their limited education or marketable job skills
often fall short of their goals to meet their obligations.
In such cases, removing these barriers and supporting people who are able to
work in finding and maintaining employment will enable these individuals to resume
payments to victims and families. Corrections departments and agencies responsible
for collections should provide these individuals with a range of programs, as appropriate, to increase their earnings capacity and enable them to meet their financial
obligations:
• Prison-based work and savings programs.
Prison Industry Enhancement, United States
The Prison Industry Enhancement portion of the Justice System Improvement Act of 1979 (18 U.S.C.
1761(c)), established mechanisms for industries to provide prevailing wage employment for offenders,
and to deduct a portion of these wages towards taxes, incarceration costs, crime victims compensation boards, savings, and financial obligations.79 Between 1979 and 2005, participants set aside
more than $13 million in mandatory savings accounts (for reentry needs such as housing); generated
approximately $33 million toward victims programs (including restitution); and paid more than $21
million toward family support (including child support).80

• Training in financial management, budgeting, and other organizational skills.
Financial Education Classes, Department of Corrections, Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Corrections contracts with a private, nonprofit financial education
company to provide budgeting and money management classes for people who are incarcerated. The
agency also provides free credit reports and counseling to people who are close to release from prison
and helps participants improve their credit ratings and increase the likelihood that they will successfully obtain housing and employment and meet their financial obligations.81

• Job training, job placement, and employment.*
Center for Employment Opportunities, Department of Corrections, New York City, New York
The Center for Employment Opportunities meets individuals at the moment of their release from New
York City’s Rikers Island Jail and provides transportation from Rikers Island directly to work sites scattered across the city. Participants work on day-labor crews, which are run by city and state agencies
and involve a variety of assignments including providing custodial services to government buildings,
maintaining nature trails, painting classrooms, and cleaning roadways.
Parents Fair Share Program, Department of Corrections and
Department of Economic Development, Missouri
In collaboration with the Missouri Department of Corrections, the Missouri Department of Economic
Development provides employment and training services to people who are incarcerated or who have
been released to the community. Eligible individuals can also participate in the Parents Fair Share
program, which provides job placement, transportation assistance, and parenting education. The goal
of the program is to increase the ability of parents who are being released from prison to meet their
children’s emotional and financial needs, including child support. Through other programs, participants also receive budgeting and life skills classes, and photo identification.82

38 |

* For more information on workforce development, employment, and reentry, see the Employment and Education
section of the Reentry Policy Council Web site at www.reentrypolicy.org.

policy statement 6

• Collection delays in the event of illness, hospitalization, or injury.
Intensive Supervision Program, Adult Probation Department, New Jersey
In cases where an individual’s substance abuse problem interferes with his or her ability to obtain or
maintain employment, probation personnel delay collections until the person has completed substance abuse treatment. For individuals with severe mental illness, the probation department provides
job training and placement for those who can work, and collects a portion of the disability checks of
those who cannot work but have sufficient resources to make payments. Probation personnel also
delay collections in cases of pregnancy or injury.83

• Assistance for people who are eligible in gaining access to federal benefits and
other public benefits programs.
Social Security Access, Department of Corrections, New York City, New York
The New York City Department of Corrections plans to locate part-time Social Security Administration
staff in its jail at Rikers Island to help complete Social Security applications for people while they are
still in detention.*

d | Create the possibility of alternatives to payment, such as community

service, when appropriate, to enable individuals with disabilities or
other special conditions to demonstrate accountability to victims,
families, and communities.

In exceptional cases, people with disabilities or who are indigent may be entirely
unable to make monetary payments toward their debts despite their wishes to
demonstrate accountability to victims, families, and their communities. In these
instances, agencies responsible for collections should provide opportunities for
nonmonetary contributions.
Strategies for providing these opportunities include engaging in treatment
to address the behavior that caused harm to the community. Alternatives for nonmonetary restitution should be provided only with the consultation of the victim.
• Opportunities for community service.
Civic Justice Corps, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention,
U.S. Department of Justice
As part of the Civic Justice Corps program, young adults who are under community supervision perform community service projects such as building houses and maintaining public lands. Participants
receive training and education in addition to a stipend, educational benefits, and scholarships. Their
wages are used to pay restitution and other financial obligations.84
Sentencing Statute, Iowa
Iowa’s sentencing statute (Iowa Stat. § 910.2 1999 Supplement) enables the sentencing court to
require an individual who is not reasonably able to pay all or a part of his or her financial obligations
(apart from victim restitution) to perform a set number of hours of community service. Service hours
are set at an amount the court determines to be approximately equivalent to the value of an individual’s court-ordered financial obligations. In Iowa, as well as other states with this practice, service hours
are generally valued at a rate of $6 to $10 per hour, depending on the local minimum wage and the
prevailing wage for the duties performed.

* For more information on increasing access to federal benefits, also go to www.reentrypolicy.org.

| 39

repaying debts

• Waiver of fines, fees, and surcharges in exchange for reparative activities such as
participation in drug treatment or other services.
Homeless Court Program, Superior Court, San Diego County, California
In a community-based court, judges handle quality-of-life related warrants for homeless individuals
that involve minor infractions, such as riding the local trolley without a ticket. (Cases handled by this
court do not involve victim restitution.) Defense attorneys meet with prosecutors and clients a week
prior to the hearing to negotiate agreements for clients. As part of these agreements, the court forgives the jail time and fines, fees, and surcharges of clients who participate in social services designed
to address the issues that are likely to be associated with their conduct, such as substance abuse and
mental illness.85

40 |

Conclusion

State and local government officials and other policymakers are increas-

ingly concerned about the failure of people returning from prisons and jails to pay
child support; restitution; and various fines, fees, and other court-imposed financial
obligations. This guide’s policy statements and recommendations detail comprehensive strategies that state and community leaders can use to address those concerns.
Because every jurisdiction is unique, how these policies and recommendations are
implemented will vary significantly from one state (and even one county) to another.
Each state or jurisdiction must analyze its distinct barriers to holding people released
from prisons and jails accountable and develop support systems that help these individuals fulfill their long-term obligations.
But even with the variations among states, there will continue to be some common denominators that are essential to a successful initiative, including extensive
collaboration among multiple independent agencies at all levels of government that
represent different (and sometimes competing) interests. Strong, committed leadership will remain key to getting these different groups to recognize their common
interests and to develop a shared vision. This guide provides examples of such inspiring leadership and the results it has generated. And though great success has been
achieved in those areas in which it has been exercised, the impact has been on only a
handful of states or smaller jurisdictions. There is much more work to be done in the
majority of states across the nation. Victims and the children and families of people
who are released from prisons and jails each year depend on it. The integrity of the
judicial system requires it. And the millions of people reentering our communities
each year cannot meet their obligations without it.

| 41

appendix a

Methodology

The CSG Justice Center conducted extensive research to develop a sophis-

ticated understanding of the restitution, child support, and fines, fees, and surcharges
that people released from prison and jail typically owe and how these financial obligations relate to a person’s reentry to the community. To develop recommendations that
policymakers could use to improve rates of collection of these debts, and to increase
the likelihood that people released from prison complete their sentence successfully,
Justice Center staff reviewed policies developed in cities, counties, and states across
the country; collected descriptions (published and unpublished) of various innovative
programs; and conducted more than 100 interviews of experts in the fields of community corrections, court administration, victims’ advocacy, child support enforcement, employment, and service provision, in addition to bipartisan legislative and
judicial representatives.
As part of the information-gathering process, Justice Center staff also sent an
online survey in December 2005 to 1,200 members of the American Parole and Probation Association regarding their practices of collecting and monitoring the financial obligations of people on probation and parole. The project team received nearly
200 responses. The results of these surveys, together with interviews, a meeting of
experts, and a review of policies, practices, and research, have been incorporated into
this report.
To review an early draft of this guide, Justice Center staff also convened an
advisory group meeting on April 6, 2006, in Washington, D.C. The meeting included
leaders in the fields of community corrections, court administration, victims’ advocacy, child support enforcement, employment, and service provision, in addition to
bipartisan legislative and judicial representatives.

| 43

appendix b

Advisory Group*

Julie Begoña
Field Division Director,
Maricopa County Probation
Department, Arizona
Terry Collins
Assistant Director,
Ohio Department of
Rehabilitation and Correction
Alan Cropsey
Chair, Senate Judiciary
Committee, Michigan
Sharon English
National Victim Survivor
Advocate, Victim Services,
California
Kay Farley
Director of Government
Relations, National Center
for State Courts, Virginia
Lisa Holley
Chair, Rhode Island Parole
Board; President, Associaton
of Paroling Authorities
International, Rhode Island
Steven C. Hollon
Administrative Director,
Supreme Court of Ohio

Karen Imas
Communications Manager,
Council of State Governments,
Eastern Regional Conference,
New York
George Keiser
Chief, Community Corrections/
Prison Division, National
Institute of Corrections,
Washington, D.C.
John Larivee
Chief Executive Officer,
Community Resources for
Justice, Massachusetts
Sheila Leslie
Specialty Courts Coordinator;
Chair, Assembly Health and
Human Services Committee,
Nevada
Kirsten Levington
Director, Criminal Justice
Program, Brennan Center
for Justice, New York
Barry Miller
Chief, Child Support
Enforcement, North Carolina

Andrew Molloy
Senior Policy Advisor for
Corrections, Bureau of Justice
Assistance, Office of Justice
Programs, U.S. Department
of Justice, Washington, D.C.
Benidia Rice
Director, Child Support
Enforcement, Washington, D.C.
Alan Rosenthal
Director of Justice Strategies,
Center for Community
Alternatives, New York
Amy Solomon
Policy Associate, Justice Policy
Center, Urban Institute,
Washington, D.C.
Richelle (Chelle) Uecker
President, National Association
of Court Managers, California
John Andrew West
Judge, Hamilton County,
Common Pleas Court, Ohio
Joseph Williams
Chief Executive Officer,
Transition of Prisoners, Inc.,
Michigan

* Advisory group members’ titles are reflective of the positions they held at the time of the advisory group meeting
convened April 6, 2006, in Washington, D.C.

| 45

Notes

1

The number of people released from

at www.csgeast.org/programs/

state prisons each year has been

criminal_ justice/BuildingBridges.pdf.

steadily increasing—from slightly more
than 600,000 in 2000 to just under

7

670,000 in 2004. See Paige Harrison
and Allen Beck, Prison and Jail Inmates
at Midyear 2005, U.S. Department of

2

8

15 Personal communication of unpublished findings from the Returning Home
study in Texas, Ohio, and Illinois, Amy
Solomon, Policy Associate, Urban

tions from the Field: Victims’ Rights and

Institute, Washington, D.C., April 6,

the Urban Institute Reentry Round-

Services for the 21st Century, U.S. Depart-

2006. Personal communication of

table, June 27, 2006, Washington, D.C.

ment of Justice, Office of Justice Pro-

unpublished findings from the Returning

grams, NCJ 172825 (Washington, D.C.:

Home study in Texas, Ohio, and Illinois,

U.S. Department of Justice, 1998).

Lisa Brooks, Research Associate, Urban

Patrick Langan and David Levin, Recidi-

9 Anne Seymour, The Role of Victims in

tice Statistics, NCJ 193427 (Washing-

Offender Reentry: A Community Response

ton, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice,

Manual (Lexington, Ky.: American Pro-

2002).

bation and Parole Association, 2001),

Christopher Mumola, Incarcerated Parents and Their Children, U.S. Department
of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics,

retrieved at www.appa-net.org/
manual.pdf.
10 The Online Resource Library of the

NCJ 182335 (Washington, D.C.: U.S.

National Center for State Courts can

Department of Justice, 2000).

be accessed at www.ncsconline.org/

Allen Beck, “State and Federal Prisoners
Returning to the Community: Findings

5

(2004): 5–12.

Office for Victims of Crime, New Direc-

Department of Justice, Bureau of Jus-

4

Incarceration,” Judges’ Journal 43, no. 1

and Released Parents: Lessons from OCSE

to Jail Population Growth,” presented at

vism of Prisoners Released in 1994, U.S.

3

while Doing Time: Child Support and

ment, 2006).

Department of Justice, 2006). Allen J.

14 Jessica Pearson, “Building Debt

and Families, Working with Incarcerated

D.C.: Office of Child Support Enforce-

NCJ 213133 (Washington, D.C.: U.S.

Children.

Services, Administration for Children

Grants and State Programs (Washington,

Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics,

Beck, “The Importance of Successful Reentry

U.S. Department of Health and Human

13 Mumola, Incarcerated Parents and Their

D_KIS/Library/Libraryindex.html.
11 Personal communication of unpub-

from the Bureau of Justice Statistics,”

lished findings from the Returning Home

presented at the First Reentry Courts

study in Texas and Ohio, Amy Solomon,

Initiative Cluster Meeting, April 13,

Policy Associate, Urban Institute,

2000, Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., April 6, 2006.

Steven Steurer, Linda Smith, and Alice
Tracy, Three-State Recidivism Study (Lanham, Md.: Correctional Educational
Association, 2001). C. W. Harlow,
Education and Correctional Population,
U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau
of Justice Statistics, NCJ 195670
(Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department
of Justice, 2003).

6 Council of State Governments, “Building Bridges: From Conviction to
Employment—A Proposal to Reinvest
Corrections Savings in an Employment
Initiative,” January 2003, retrieved

Personal communication of unpublished findings from the Returning Home

Institute, Washington, D.C., January 11, 2007 and March 3, 2007. For
more information on Returning Home,
see www.urban.org/projects/reentryportfolio/index.cfm.
16 Ibid.
17 Ibid.
18 Jessica Pearson and Lanae Davis, Serving
Parents Who Leave Prison: Final Report on
the Work and Family Life Center (Denver,
Colo.: Center for Policy Research,
2001).
19 Personal communication, José Dimas,
Government Relations Associate,
National Center for State Courts,
Virginia, December 12, 2005.

study in Texas and Ohio, Lisa Brooks,

20 Personal communication, Sheila Leslie,

Research Associate, Urban Institute,

Specialty Courts Coordinator; Chair,

Washington, D.C., January 11, 2007

Health and Human Services Commit-

and March 3, 2007. For more infor-

tee, Washoe County Assembly, Nevada,

mation on Returning Home, see www.

April 6, 2006.

urban.org/projects/reentry-portfolio/
index.cfm.
12 Personal communication, Julie Begoña,

21 Doris James, Profile of Jail Inmates, 2002,
U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of
Justice Statistics, NCJ 201932 (Wash-

Field Division Director, Maricopa

ington, D.C.: Department of Justice,

County Probation Department,

2004).

Arizona, April 6, 2006.

22 Steven Steurer, Linda Smith, and
Alice Tracy, Three-State Recidivism Study

| 47

(Lanham, Md.: Correctional Educa-

that the following states prioritize

org/restitution.html, November 19,

tional Association, 2001). Sharon

restitution: Arizona, Florida, Hawaii,

2006.

M. Dietrich, “Criminal Records and

Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Employment: Ex-Offenders Thwarted

States that prioritize other fines, fees,

in Attempts to Earn a Living for Their

or surcharges include Alaska, Colorado,

Families,” in Amy E. Hirsch, Sharon M.

Connecticut, and Georgia. Federal law

Dietrich, Rue Landau, Peter D. Sch-

(42 U.S.C. § 666) prioritizes child sup-

neider, Irv Ackelsberg, Judith Bernstein-

port obligations above all other debts

Baker, and Joseph Hohenstein, Every

owed to the state, including restitu-

Door Closed: Barriers Facing Parents with

tion, fines, fees, and surcharges.

Criminal Records (Washington, D.C., and
Philadelphia. Penn.: Center for Law and
Social Policy and Community Legal Services, 2002). Nancy La Vigne, Christy
Visher, and Jennifer Castro, Chicago
Prisoners’ Reflections on Returning Home
(Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute,
2004).
23 La Vigne, Visher, and Castro, Chicago
Prisoners’ Reflections.
24 Harry Holzer, Paul Offner, and Elaine
Sorensen, Declining Employment among
Young, Black, Less-Educated Men (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, 2004).
25 Office for Victims of Crime, New
Directions from the Field.
26 Jeremy Travis and Michelle Waul, eds.,
Prisoners Once Removed: The Impact of
Incarceration and Reentry on Children,
Families, and Communities (Washington,
D.C.: Urban Institute, 2004).
27 Personal communication, Ron Titus,

tors in State Prison, 1991, U.S. Department
of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics,
NCJ 149076 (Washington, D.C.: U.S.
Department of Justice, 1995).
33 Ibid.
34 Texas Department of Criminal Justice,
Board of Pardons and Paroles, Correctional Managed Health Care Committee, Staff Report: Court Costs and Fees
Study (Austin, Tex.: Sunset Advisory
Commission, 2006).
35 Personal communication, Jim Lehman,
Collections Program Manager, Office of
Court Administration, Texas, November
27, 2006.
36 Texas S.B. 1863: Tex. Code of Crim.
Proc. § 103. 0033.
37 42 U.S.C. § 666.
38 Personal communication, Vicki
Turetsky, Senior Staff Attorney, Center

ment of Labor, “Probation Officers and
Correctional Treatment Specialists,”
section of Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006–07 Edition, retrieved at www.
bls.gov/oco/ocos265.htm, November
25, 2006.
46 American Probation and Parole Association, Restructuring Intensive Supervision
Programs: Applying What “Works” (Lexington, Ky.: American Probation and Parole
Association, 1994).
47 Personal communication, Julie Begoña,
Field Division Director Maricopa
County Probation Department,
Arizona, April 6, 2006.
48 Ibid.
49 Richard Fair, “Report on the Audit of
the Judiciary, Administrative Office of the
Courts, Probation Services Division for the
Period July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2004” (Trenton, N.J.: New Jersey State Legislature
Office of Legislative Services, Office of
the State Auditor, 2004).
50 Personal communication, Harvey
Goldstein, Chief, Intensive Supervision
Program, Adult Probation Department,
New Jersey, May 11, 2006.
51 Personal communication, Michael

Director, Administrative Office of the

for Law and Social Policy, October 4,

Washington, Parole and Post-Prison

Courts, Nevada, May 30, 2006, Febru-

2006.

Supervision Board Chair, Oregon,

ary 12, 2007.
28 Personal communication, Donna Farris, Division Director of Operations,
Travis County Probation Department,
Texas, December 28, 2006, February
13, 2007.
29 Federal law requires that child support
be collected separately by designated
child support enforcement officials.
However, respondents to an unpublished joint CSG/APPA survey of 200
members of the American Probation
and Parole Association conducted in
December 2005 reported that separate
agencies within a given jurisdiction are

39 42 U.S.C. § 666.
40 Child Support Enforcement Council,
“How the Child Support System Works,”
retrieved at www.csecouncil.org/
industry/system.htm, November 18,
2006.
41 42 U.S.C. § 666 (a)(9).
42 15 U.S.C. § 1673.
43 Personal communication, Harvey
Goldstein, Chief, Intensive Supervision
Program, Adult Probation Department,
New Jersey, May 11, 2006.
44 Anne Crowe, Morna Murray, and

often responsible for collecting

Melissa Hook, “A Compendium of

probation supervision fees, court

Promising Practices for Restitution,”

costs, fines, and restitution.

unpublished bulletin of the American

30 15 U.S.C. § 1673 (a).

48 |

32 Robyn Cohen, Probation and Parole Viola-

45 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Depart-

31 A CSG Justice Center review of state
restitution policies in 2006 found

Probation and Parole Association and
the Victim Assistance Legal Organization, retrieved at www.valor national.

November 1, 2006.
52 Esther Griswold and Jessica Pearson,
“Twelve Reasons for Collaboration
between Departments of Correction
and Child Support Enforcement Agencies,” Corrections Today 65, no. 3 (2003):
88.
53 Rob Atkinson and Knut Rostad, “Can
Inmates Become an Integral Part of the
U.S. Workforce? Employment Dimensions of Reentry: Understanding the
Nexus between Prisoner Reentry and
Work,” presented at the Urban Institute
Reentry Roundtable, May 19–20,
2003, New York University Law School.
54 U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, Administration for Children
and Families, Managing Child Support
Arrears—A Discussion Framework: Summary of the Administration for Children and
Families, Regions I, II, & III Third Meeting

on Managing Arrears (Washington D.C.:

at www.nacvcb.org/articles/Overview

Personal communication, Barbara

Office of Child Support Enforcement,

_prn.html, October 20, 2006.

Broderick, Chief Probation Officer,

2003). Personal communication,
Senior Staff Attorney, Vicki Turetsky,
Center for Law and Social Policy,
Washington, D.C., August 5, 2006.
55 Esther Griswold, Jessica Pearson, and

67 U.S. Sentencing Commission, Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics
(Washington, D.C.: U.S. Sentencing
Commission, 2004). Cynthia Kempinen, “A Multi-Method Evaluation of

Lanae Davis, Testing a Modification

Economic Sanctions in Pennsylvania,”

Process for Incarcerated Parents (Denver,

Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing:

Colo.: Center for Policy Research,

Research Bulletin 5, no. 1 (2006).

2001).

Adult Probation Department, Maricopa County, Arizona, December 6,
2005. Personal communication, Julie
Begoña, Field Division Director, Maricopa County Probation Department,
Arizona, April 26, 2006.
77 Ibid.
78 California Rules of Court, 985, “Infor-

68 Victim advocates, prosecutors, and pro-

mation Sheet on Waiver of Court Fees

56 Creasie Finney Hairston, “Family Ties

bation and parole officers should also

and Costs,” adopted for mandatory use

during Imprisonment: Do They Influ-

inform victims of the potential for tax

by the Judicial Council of California,

ence Future Criminal Activity?” Federal

relief for losses due to being a victim of

982(a)(17)(A), revised March 14, 2005.

Probation 52, no. 1 (1998): 48–52.

fraud or theft. For more information,

57 Ann Cammett, Making Work Pay: Promoting Employment and Better Child-Support
Outcomes for Low-Income and Incarcerated
Parents (Newark: New Jersey Institute
for Social Justice, 2005).
58 Elise Richer, Abbey Frank, Mark Green-

see Internal Revenue Service, Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts, publication no.
547 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Treasury,
Internal Revenue Service, 2005).
69 Crowe, Murray, and Hook, “A Compendium of Promising Practices.”

berg, Steve Savner, and Vicki Turetsky,

70 Judy Villa, “Victims’ Perspectives Con-

Boom Times a Bust: Declining Employment

nect with Prisoners,” Arizona Republic,

among Less-Educated Young Men (Wash-

October 7, 2006.

ington, D.C.: Center for Law and Social
Policy, 2003).
59 Pearson, “Building Debt while Doing
Time,” 5–12.
60 42 U.S.C. § 667.
61 U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, Administration for Children
and Families, Working with Incarcerated
and Released Parents. Griswold, Pearson,
and Davis, Testing a Modification Process
for Incarcerated Parents.
62 Holzer, Offner, and Sorensen, Declining
Employment.
63 Ore. Rev. Stat. 416.425(9) retrieved
at www.leg.state.or.us/99reg/
measures/hb2200.dir/hb2231.en.
html, December 1, 2006.
64 For a state-by-state list of license
restrictions practices for child support
enforcement, see the Web site of the
National Conference of State Legislatures at www.ncsl.org/programs/cyf/
licensechart.htm.
65 Office for Victims of Crime, New
Directions from the Field.
66 National Association of Crime Victim

71 The meaning of these terms varies by
jurisdiction. This guide uses definitions from “Standards Relating to Court
Costs: Fees, Miscellaneous Charges,
and Surcharges,” adopted at the
Conference of State Court Administra-

79 Thomas Petersik, Tapan Nayak, and
M. Katie Forman, Identifying Beneficiaries of PIE Inmate Incomes: Who Benefits
from Wage Earnings of Inmates Working
in the Prison Industry Enhancement (PIE)
Program? (Washington, D.C.: Washington University Center for Economic
Research, 2003).
80 John Howard, “Prison Industry
Enhancement,” Georgia Department
of Corrections Operations, Planning
and Training Division, retrieved at
www.dcor.state.ga.us/News Room/
Publications/pdf/-PIEbrochure.pdf,
October 23, 2006.
81 Personal communication, D. J. Enga,

tors’ 1986 Annual Meeting, Omaha,

Outreach & Education Director, Auriton

Nebraska.

Solutions, Minnesota, April 11, 2006.

72 Personal communication, Ron Titus,

82 Personal communication, Tom Clem-

Director, Administrative Office of the

ents, Assistant Division Director, Divi-

Courts, Nevada, May 30, 2006.

sion of Adult Institutions, Department

73 Personal communication, Linda
Murken, Iowa Director of the Second
Judicial District Department of Correctional Services, November 14, 2005.
74 John Schweitzer, “Multnomah County’s
Restitution Center: A Corrections Success Story,” National Institute of Correc-

of Corrections, Missouri, November 28,
2005.
83 Personal Communication, Harvey
Goldstein, Chief, Intensive Supervision
Program, Adult Probation Department,
New Jersey, May 11, 2006.
84 Personal communication, Dennis

tions, Large Jail Network Bulletin (Winter,

Maloney, President, Community Justice

1992).

Associates, Oregon, March 3, 2006.

75 Interstate Commission for Adult
Offender Supervision, “Rules,” effective
January 1, 2006, retrieved at www.
interstatecompact.org/about/history/
historical/ICAOSRulesEffect1-1-2006.
pdf, May 17, 2006.
76 Administrative Directive. Ariz. Rev.

Compensation Boards, “Crime Victim

Stat. § 13-801 – 13-812, 13-902, 33-

Compensation: An Overview,” retrieved

967. Administrative Order of the State
Supreme Court of Arizona No. 94 -16.

National Association of Service and
Conservation Corps, retrieved at
www.nascc.org/documents/Civic
JusticeCorps/Civic%20Justice%
20Corps%20-%20NASCC%20-%
2011-9-06.pdf, November 30, 2006.
85 San Diego Association of Governments,
San Diego Homeless Court Program: A
Process and Impact Evaluation (San Diego,
Calif.: San Diego Association of Governments, 2004).

| 49

Council of State Governments
Justice Center
100 Wall Street
20th Floor
New York, NY 10005
tel: 212-482-2320
fax: 212-482-2344

4630 Montgomery Avenue
Suite 650
Bethesda, MD 20814
tel: 301-760-2401
fax: 240-497-0568

www.justicecenter.csg.org

 

 

Federal Prison Handbook
CLN Subscribe Now Ad
CLN Subscribe Now Ad 450x600