Key Bill Supporting Crime Survivors Passes House
Significant bi-partisan push to support those overcoming tragedy
Thursday, April 12, 2018, Juneau, Alaska- Today the House unanimously voted to prioritize survivors of crime through legislation introduced by Representative Chuck Kopp (R-Anchorage). House Bill 216 seeks to restore the original legislative intent of a fund that was established 30 years ago to assist survivors of crimes.
In 1988, the legislature made certain offenders ineligible to receive a PFD and decided to use an equal amount of the dividends that would have gone to offenders to help victims by establishing what is known as the Criminal Fund through the Violent Crimes Compensation Board. The board’s primary state funding comes from these offender’s ineligible PFDs. Over the years, the laws have changed to allow these funds to be used for other things and by other entities.
Today, over 90% of these funds pay for inmate healthcare. “We recognize that we must continue to pay for inmate healthcare, but we have a responsibility to support victims of crime and to restore the original intent of the law,” said Rep. Chuck Kopp.
House Bill 216 establishes the Restorative Justice Account as a sub-account within the Permanent Fund for appropriations to entities allowed to receive these funds. The bill establishes a funding priority mechanism with victims being the top priority through compensation by the Violent Crimes Compensation Board and restitution assistance through the Office of Victims’ rights for victims that have exhausted all means of recovery from offenders.
“House Bill 216 does not remove the liability of offenders to repay restitution orders, fines, and other costs of incarceration,” said Rep. Chuck Kopp.
House Bill 216 also allows the funds to be used for grants to nonprofit organizations that assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and for offender mental health and substance abuse treatment programs, while preserving funding for inmate healthcare through the Department of Corrections. HB 216 is now headed to the Senate for consideration.
For more information contact Press Secretary Mallory Walser at 408-314-8932 or Mallory.Walser@akleg.gov