Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe announced recently that the Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Board awarded $77,895 in reparations to 72 crime victims during January. Additional expenses were paid in 45 previously submitted cases. Beebe noted in 2003, nearly 2,700 claimants received $3,347,732 in reparations. That's an increase of $510,917 from the 2002 total.
"I'm glad to see more Arkansans take advantage of the Crime Victims program," Beebe said. "My office is working hard to make the public even more aware of this invaluable service, so that even more victims will find relief from this program during 2004."
Created by the 76th General Assembly in 1987, the program provides compensation for victims' unexpected expenses, including medical treatment, mental-health counseling, lost wages, replacement services and funeral expenses. Most awards are limited to $10,000 or less. However, for victims receiving catastrophic injuries resulting in total and permanent disability on or after Aug. 1, 1999, the maximum award can be as high as $25,000.
One of the most innovative aspects of the Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Program is that a portion of the reparations funding comes from fines imposed on the convicted criminals. Additionally, court costs and fees are a major revenue source for the program.
The Attorney General's Office provides staff to administer the Crime Victims Program under the direction of the Crime Victims Reparations Board. The board members decide which claims can be paid and how much the awards should be. Alvin Clay of Little Rock, Dr. Jan Church of Little Rock, Colleen Nick of Alma, Susan Bradberry of Stuttgart and Jodi Dennis of Pine Bluff comprise the board.
In January of 2004, Sharp County had one new award with a total payout of $860.88. Izard County had no new awards but did have one supplemental award for a total payout of $151.
For more information about the Crime Victims Program, call the Crime Victims Hotline at 1-800-448-3014.