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State Legislative Approaches to Funding for Victims' Services

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2003
7 pages
Publication Series
This overview describes the major State legislative approaches for creating sources of funding for crime victim assistance.
The overview first discusses offender-based funding. The discussion notes that nearly every State has some form of general offender assessment, penalty, or surcharge that all convicted offenders must pay. This money may go to the State's victim services, victim compensation, or be divided between the two. Topics discussed under this funding source are the amount of surcharges, surcharges for specific crimes, and other forms of offender penalties (e.g., inmate earnings and surplus restitution). A discussion of current issues related to offender-based funding focuses on the enforcement of surcharges and competition for limited government funds. The second funding source discussed is funding through fees. States have imposed nonoffender-based fees for certain services in order to fund crime victim programs; for example, many States add a surcharge when issuing a marriage license; the money is used to fund domestic violence or child abuse programs. Fees may be attached to divorce filings, the issuing of birth certificates, and the reinstatement of a driver's license. A third funding source is State-facilitated funding by private citizens. These funding sources include personal income taxes, special license plate income, and jurors' donation of their fees. Miscellaneous funding sources briefly described are local property taxes, urban action bonds, food and beverage taxes, and sales of inmate arts and crafts. 65 notes

Date Published: December 1, 2003