Poughkeepsie…The Dutchess County Office of Probation and Community Corrections is on track to collect nearly $300,000 in restitution for crime victims by the end of 2010, exceeding the 2009 collection by over $83,000, announced Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus.
Dutchess County Probation & Community Corrections Director Mary Ellen Still said, “Victims of a crime can suffer large economic costs as a result of a crime including medical expenses, lost earnings, damaged property, even counseling expenses. Restitution is designed to ensure the person responsible for the crime pays the cost, not the victim.”
Restitution is money an offender pays to the victim of a crime for the victim's actual out-of-pocket costs or losses. The Dutchess County Office of Probation & Community Corrections has more than 1,000 active restitution cases. The restitution process can be very lengthy and these cases require an extremely challenging balance between collecting funds from offenders who may be incarcerated, unemployed or difficult to locate and the distributing of funds to victims who may have moved but have not provided updated contact information. The restitution process, which requires a considerable commitment of staff, is mandated by New York State and involves a very complex series of rules and regulations to administer.
Restitution requirements are just a small portion of the nearly $4 million in funds that pass through the Dutchess County Probation & Community Corrections Office each year to administer and monitor programs for:
- Sex Offender Supervision,
- Juvenile Delinquency Diversion
- Persons In Need of Supervision (PINS)
- the Intensive Supervision Program
- the Ignition Interlock
- and many other Alternative to Incarceration programs.
Other revenues include fees for Adult Supervision in addition to the surcharges for restitution funds.
Just like departments across Dutchess County government, the Office of Probation and Community Corrections is facing staff reductions for 2011 as part of Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus’ 2011 Budget proposal which caps the property tax levy for homeowners and businesses.
Probation & Community Correction Director Mary Ellen Still, “It will be challenging for us as a department in 2011, but we understand the financial challenges facing Dutchess County government and just like residents throughout the community, we are going to have to work even harder to do more with less. Our commitment, by our dedicated staff, to ensuring crime victims get the restitution they deserve will continue to be a top priority.”