Reworking Restitution

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue signed the Crime Victims Restitution Act of 2005. The bill makes the payment of restitution awarded to the victim of a crime a larger priority.

Restitution includes out of pocket expenses paid by the victims as a result of a crime, expenses that some victim advocates say gets overlooked.

Karen Bishop, a victim advocate, says, "When a crime happens to someone, whether their door was bashed in when someone was breaking in or whether they were physically injured as a result of the crime and don't have insurance, it puts them back and that's wrong for them to have to pay out of pocket."

The victim advocates that we talked to said that currently the restitution that's awarded to victims of a crime is rarely paid. That's something prosecutors say this new legislation will change.

Jim Hardy, Chief Assistant DA with the South Judicial Circuit, says, "It just makes it a priority. It prioritizes restitution where it wasn't. They may have collected fines before they would've collected restitution in some areas or they may have collected some of the fees. This makes restitution the primary thing to be collected."

The new legislation includes many new steps like making parents of child offenders in restitution cases responsible, all steps towards helping the victim of a crime heal, and the criminal pay.