Thursday, June 21, 2007
City to handle probation
At the recommendation of police chief Robert Pearson, the Holly Springs Board of Aldermen approved hiring an officer to work with municipal court in collecting payments on fines.
The program will cost clients about half the amount they have to pay for service of payments to court under the private firm Statewide Probation, Pearson said.
“The officer will keep track of all people on probation in municipal court and delinquent payments,” Pearson said. “I think we can do a better job and cheaper job.”
The system will take a few months to convert to city-provided probation services, Pearson said.
The system allows clients to pay monthly on fines until they have paid off all the fine, as approved by the municipal judge. The payment system is set up for defendants who cannot pay all their fines off at once.
Since Statewide Probation was ordered by Judge Eugene Brown Jr., he will have to make the change, Pearson said. Under the current process, a client pays a $40 sign-up fee, a monthly payment on the fine and $40 a month to the probation firm.
“So a client who owes about $400 would pay about $80 the first month to probation and $40 each successive month until the fine is paid off,” Pearson said. “I believe we can do a better job. We put the client on city probation and charge a flat fee of say $20 a month and $10 for a late payment fee. The dollars collected as charged for the service, not the payments on the fine, would be used to hire a police officer to keep track of all people on probation in municipal court and any delinquent fines.”
Pearson said the up-front and monthly fees are “quite a sum” for clients to pay on top of their monthly note on their fine.
“We’re trying to do something to make it a little nicer for folks.”
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