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									       Texas Repaying Debts Project
        American Probation & Parole Association

Jamie Yoon, Council of State Governments Justice Center
  Carl Reynolds, Texas Office of Court Administration

                  February 12, 2008
    What is the Council of State
   Non-profit, non-partisan membership
    association of state government officials
   Funded largely through state dues
   Represents all three branches of state
    government: legislature, judiciary, and
    executive branch
   4 regional offices
   Provides non-partisan setting to discuss
    controversial criminal justice topics outside of
    the public spotlight
              Prisoner Re-Entry
   97 percent of the people in prison will be
    released from prison at some point, and virtually
    all sentenced offenders in jail will return to the
   Approximately 625,000 individuals will exit
    prison this year.
   Jail administrators across the U.S. make
    approximately 7 million releases each year.
   1 in 32 adults was in jail or prison, or on
    probation or parole, in 2002.
Re-Entry Policy Council Partners
Association of State Correctional Administrators
• American Probation and Parole Association
National Association of Housing and
Redevelopment Officials • National Association
of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors •
National Association of State Mental Health
Program Directors • National Association of
Workforce Boards • National Center for State
Courts • Corporation for Supportive Housing •
Urban Institute • Police Executive Research

Re-Entry Policy Council Report
   34 Policy Statements
   Research highlights
   Hundreds of detailed action recommendations
   175+ examples of programs from across the
   Reflects consensus among Republican and
    Democrat elected officials and key stakeholders
    from workforce development, corrections,
    housing, health and human services, community
    corrections, and law enforcement from across
    the country

Repaying Debts Report

Policy Statements and

Texas Project: Collection
 Improvement Program

          Collection Program Principles

   A fine is a punishment and not a “BILL.”
•   The payment is the defendant’s responsibility.
•   It is expected that the defendant must sacrifice
    to pay.
•   The defendant must give payment the highest
•   The defendant must expect consequences if
    payment is not made.
•   The defendant needs to understand the
•   The payment is a Court Order, a sentence which
    may not be convenient.
   A court is not where people prefer to spend
    money. But, many people come to court with
    Collection Program Components
   Staff or staff time dedicated to collection
    activities. This may include county or city
    employees or contract employees.
   Expectation that all court costs, fees, and fines
    are generally due at the time of sentencing or
   In most cases, defendants unable to pay in full on
    the day of sentencing or pleading are required to
    complete an application for extension of time to
   Application information is verified and evaluated
    to establish an appropriate payment plan for the

    Collection Program Components

   Payment terms are usually strict (e.g., 50% of the
    total amount due must be paid within 48 hours;
    80% within 30 days; and 100% within 60 days).
   Alternative enforcement options (e.g., community
    service) are available for those who do not qualify
    for a payment plan.
   Defendants are closely monitored for compliance,
    and action is taken promptly for non-compliance.
   Actions include telephone contact, letter
    notification, and possible issuance of warrant.

    Collection Program Components

   A county or city may contract with a private
    attorney or a public or private vendor for the
    provision of collection services on delinquent
    cases (61+ days), after in-house collection efforts
    are exhausted.
   Application of statutorily permitted collection
    remedies, such as programs for non-renewal of
    driver’s license or vehicle registration.
   Issue and serve warrants, as appropriate.

            Probation Context
   “Although the program can be utilized by
    a judge in virtually every criminal case to
    effectuate the judge’s financial orders, it is
    not designed to influence the judicial
    determination of whether to order
    payment of costs, fees and fines, or
    otherwise to affect the sentencing or other
    disposition decision that is within the
    judge’s discretion.”
       Parole/Re-Entry Context
   “Although the program focuses on
    collection of court costs, fees and fines, it
    should be implemented in the context of
    local, state and national efforts to develop
    and apply systemic policy to the
    competing financial obligations of people
    in the criminal justice system.”

         Cohesive Framework
   Identify gaps in policy impacting collection
   Identify coordination and prioritization issues among policies and
   Identify operational/administrative changes within OCA or other
    participating agencies that can improve the administration of
    policies in this area
   Acquire data to create a “financial obligation” profile for
    offenders on probation and parole that includes court, probation
    fees and child support obligations
   Create a model, following private sector credit rating model
    experience, to understand “financial risk factors” that may relate
    to “default” and recidivism risks
   Provide impact analysis to the legislature


          for further


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