Crime victims fund gets assist from lawmakers

First Published      Last Updated Mar 18 2014 09:41 am

Utah lawmakers took action this session to ensure a fund used to help victims of violent crime doesn't run out of money any time soon.

By approving SB259, lawmakers ended a nearly decade-long practice of using the crime victims reparations fund to cover administrative costs of the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. The commission will now receive money from the state's general fund.

Several criminal justice and substance abuse grant programs overseen by the commission also were moved to the general fund.

As a result, slightly more than $2 million — money from fines, fees and assessments charged to people who commit violent crimes — will no longer be drained from the reparation trust account administered by the Office for Victims of Crime. The account currently has a reserve balance of about $1 million.

The office's operating budget was projected to have a $2.5 million shortfall this year.

The office uses the money to assist crime victims with such things as mental health counseling, medical care, funeral costs and relocation expenses.

— Brooke Adams

Twitter: @Brooke4Trib