|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.|
|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.
- Waiver of fines, fees, and surcharges in exchange for reparative activities such as participation in drug treatment or other services.
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.1
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.
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.2
1 Personal communication, Dennis Maloney, President, Community Justice Associates, Oregon, March 3, 2006. National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, retrieved at www.nascc.org/documents/CivicJusticeCorps/Civic%20Justice%20Corps%20-%20NASCC%20-%
2011-9-06.pdf, November 30, 2006.
2 San Diego Association of Governments, San Diego Homeless Court Program: A Process and Impact Evaluation (San Diego, Calif.: San Diego Association of Governments, 2004).