Who Pays for Penalty Assessment Programs in California?

In California, criminal offenders may have fines included in their penalties, and these may be enhanced by either special assessments or penalty assessments. These penalty assessments are based on the concept of an “abusers fee,” in which those who break certain laws help finance programs related to decreasing those violations. In September 2005, the Assembly Public Safety Committee asked the California Research Bureau (CRB) to survey county courts on these financial obligations. The purpose of the survey is to help the Legislature better understand the problems county courts encounter when assessing, collecting, and tracking the numerous penalty assessments and enhancements imposed by law. This report summarizes the survey findings and makes recommendations for improvements.

Who Pays for Penalty Assessment Programs in California?