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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 9, 2021 02:10 PM
From: Senator Camera Bartolotta and Sen. Vincent J. Hughes, Sen. Art Haywood
To: All Senate members
Subject: Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI2) Legislation – Amend Crime Victims Act
The General Assembly established a bipartisan, interbranch Justice Reinvestment Working (JRI) Group under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). This group conducted a comprehensive analysis of extensive data to help develop policy options for the Legislature’s consideration.
In 2012, the General Assembly approved Act 122 and Act 196, based on a JRI policy framework. Last session, we built upon these accomplishments by introducing a package of three pieces of legislation, known as the JRI2 initiative. Two of these proposals became law, Act 114 and Act 115 of 2019.

Our proposal is part of the JRI 2 package which has not yet been enacted. It will reinvest savings generated through the proposals already enacted into law into victim services. Our legislation updates definitions in the Crime Victims Act, helps streamline the victim compensation process, makes certain more victims receive the help they need and know their right to be enrolled into the Address Confidentiality Program. Our proposal will be similar to SB 502 PN 693 of the 2019-2020 Legislative Session which was cosponsored by the following Senators: BARTOLOTTA, HUGHES, HAYWOOD, SCHWANK, LEACH, BAKER, COLLETT, KILLION, A. WILLIAMS, FARNESE, COSTA, STREET, PHILLIPS-HILL, TARTAGLIONE, STEFANO, YUDICHAK, BREWSTER, J. WARD, BROWNE and MUTH.

The proposal builds off the framework of the unanimously approved SB 502 PN 693 by strengthening victims’ access to services and compensation by: extending the time limit to file for compensation, eliminating the 72-hour time limit for reporting crimes to authorities, allowing alternative forms of reporting to qualify for compensation, and ensuring that a victim’s conduct, such as marijuana possession, does not immediately bar him or her from qualifying for compensation. 

Providing for the needs of crime victims is an essential part of the criminal justice system. Our legislation will ensure all victims understand their important role in the system and receive any compensation which they are owed.

Please join us in cosponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB708