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Bill would change restitution for juvenile offenders

Marco Verch Professional Photographer
Flickr / Creative Commons

Rather than charging youth, AB 1186 proposes requiring the California Victim Compensation Board to pay the restitution to crime victims directly and immediately. The bill is currently on the suspense file in Senate Appropriations and will be addressed by September.

EdSource reportsthat public records data analyzed by the Berkeley Law Policy Advocacy Clinic, supporters of the bill, found that only about 20 percent of youth have paid restitution charges between 2010 and 2021 . The clinic is based out of the University of California, Berkeley.

The policy clinic's data from 36 counties showed that more than 97,000 youth were ordered to pay restitution during the same timeframe, and they estimate that statewide the total is approximately 146,000 youth.

If not paid, restitution can eventually be garnished from wages, property liens, and other means; plus parents are often jointly liable, even if their child passes away.

Rachel Wallace, interim deputy director at the advocacy clinic said: "If we're not giving youth the opportunities to succeed and they're turning to cycles of violence or cycles of crime, that's something that is a societal problem that we should all be investing in."

AB 1186, introduced by Assemblymember Mia Bonta, includes alternatives to youth paying the restitution themselves, such as participating in an educational or employment program.