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County courts, community corrections oversee payments

I have read in the Mail Tribune in the last few months where criminals have been sentenced to long terms in prison and ordered by the court to make restitution to the victim anywhere from $4,000 to $40,000. What agency is responsible for enforcing these orders?

— Charles C., Eagle Point

Well, Charles, the ultimate job of collecting crime victims restitution payments lies with the state court that imposed the judgment, but there are a number of mechanisms that can be used to compel those payments. While offenders may make payments toward restitution while incarcerated, they're not required to begin making payments until they're released.

Because the offenders in question are almost always sentenced to post-prison supervision through their county's parole and probation office, their parole officer is responsible for making sure the offender complies with the terms of their release. Typically the first restitution payments are due to the court or county's victim assistance program within 90 days of their release.

If they fail to make payments in a timely fashion — a right guaranteed to crime victims under the state constitution — the offender can be found in violation of their parole and sent back to prison.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.