Monday, December 14, 2009

Collection Improvement

Lack of compliance in paying fines and fees denies a jurisdiction revenue and, more important, calls into question the authority and efficacy of the court and the justice system. Tight operating budgets, the search for additional funding for courts, and a continuing desire that court orders command the respect of defendants have combined in recent years to increase interest nationwide in collection of fines and fees.
Courts that have been the most successful in collecting have (1) adopted a philosophy that active, if not aggressive, collection is the right approach to take; (2) decided to improve community perceptions; and (3) dedicated some staff and other resources to the collection effort. Courts that have not made progress in fine collection have probably not yet grappled with these issues.
The preceding paragraphs are excerpts from a new publication by the National Center for State Courts entitled "Current Practices in Collecting Fines and Fees in State Courts: A Handbook of Collection Issues and Solutions" (2nd Ed.). It is available on the Center's website, www.ncsc.org, and more specifically here.
The OCA Collection Improvement Program, which is featured in the National Center's report, is another resource.

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