California Families of Prisoners in CDCr…take action NOW!


The info below will have an effect on every prisoner and family member in a CA prison. Restitution will go up to 80% if this bill (AB 423) succeeds…please write letters NOW!!!

It’s URGENT!!!  Please send a letter of opposition to:


Assembly Member Tom Ammiano

Chair, Assembly Member Public Safety Committee

Fax: (916) 319-3745

 You can base your letter on the one below…..

Letters must be received by 5 pm Wednesday, 3/27.


It’s important that as many people as possible are aware of this bill. 

Forward to other groups and individuals.


Attached is a copy of FCLCA’s opposition letter to Assembly Member Norma Torres and Assembly Member Tom Ammiano (Assembly Public Safety Committee Chair) concerning the proposed increase in withholding from prisoners’ trust accounts to 80 percent.  The bill also contains a seemingly mean spirited (my editorial comment only) provision to delete the exemption of trust account funds for food purchases for overnight visits.


AB 109 – realignment of prisoners with low-level convictions to the counties – authorized counties to collect restitution, but did not mandate it.  So, this has created a monkey wrench for the Victims Compensation and Government Claims Board.


Another key fact:  In 2009, the legislature took $70 million from the Victims Compensation Fund to help balance the state’s budget.  It wasn’t a loan – they just took it.


Despite these developments, the fund is solvent for the next 3-4 years, according to Wayne Strumpfer, legal counsel for the VCGB.





March 23, 2013


Assembly Member Norma Torres


State Capitol

Room 2179

Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: Assembly Bill 423





Dear Assembly Member Torres,



The Friends Committee on Legislation of California (FCLCA), a Quaker -based, statewide lobby

which advocates for state laws that are compassionate and respectful of the inherent worth of

every person, regrets to inform you of our opposition to AB 423. This bill requires the California

Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to withhold 80 percent of prisoners and

Department of Juvenile Justice Wards’ trust accounts and/or wages for transfer to the Victims

Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGB) in order to satisfy a restitution order or

fine and deletes the exemption of funds for the purchase of food from prison canteens for

overnight visits.


FCLCA believes we should do more to restore the victims of crime and understands the

importance of restitution. However, 75 percent of the monies in prisoner’s trust accounts

comes  from contributions from family members of the incarcerated who send in money so that

their loved ones may make purchases from prison canteens. An 80 percent withholding rate is

excessive. When coupled with CDCR’s five percent processing fee, a prisoner whose father

sends $100 dollars to his trust account would receive only $15. Families of the incarcerated,

who have committed no crime, comprise some of California’s most economically distressed



We are also skeptical of the provision deleting the exemption of  funds for the purchase of food for overnight visits. Only prisoners who have a parole date may have overnight visits. While the amount of money of collected for restitution by deleting this exemption seems likely to have very little impact on the solvency of the Victims Compensation Fund, the impact borne by prisoners and their families would be significant.


We understand that realigning a significant portion of California’s prison population has  created

challenges with regards to collecting restitution. Moreover, in 2009, the Legislature took away

$70 million from the Victims Compensation Fund in order to help balance the state’s budget. A

2008 audit of VCGCB by the Bureau of State Audits also pointed to its increasingly high

overhead even when its payouts declined. Despite these long terms

challenges, we also understand that the Victims Compensation Fund is solvent for the next three to four years.



Prison canteens help ameliorate prison life and lower stress levels within prisons. As a result

they promote safety for prisoners and staff alike. Rather than imposing an excessive “tax” on

the family members of the incarcerated, we urge the Legislature to consider how we might

better extend the collection of restitution to prisoners realigned by AB 109 and other

reasonable ways to make the fund solvent over the long run.


For these reasons, FCLCA respectively  opposes AB 423.

We hope to discuss this bill with your office next week. In the meantime, please feel free tocontact our office if you would like to

discuss our position.



















3 thoughts on “California Families of Prisoners in CDCr…take action NOW!

  1. This is more than an insult my son had a 2k restitution and has been in prison for 10 years we have sent more than 10k to him yet they say he still owes money. Since prisoners are not paid wages for working how can they pay restitution? my son worked on the yard crew for one year and was paid .08 cents per hour all he was able to buy was a candy at best. It is US the family that get penalized for this as everything else.


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