U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Maricopa County Adult Probation Department Financial Compliance Unit

2012 Crime Victims Financial Restoration Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Maricopa County Adult Probation Department Financial Compliance Unit | Crime Victims Financial Restoration Award
Team Members: Michael Cimino; Stephen Hartley; Kendra Neal; Kristin Agnetti; Rosa Barrio; Marge Boyett; Thea Burress; Judy Chacon; Sonia Cruz; Lorraine Guire; John Helmich; Brenda Jones; Selia Murillo; Michael Shinault; Oveta Sullivan; Kelly Sussex; Obenai Kingsby
Scottsdale, Arizona

The Maricopa County Adult Probation Department Financial Compliance Program (FINCOM) is a comprehensive, integrated, and innovative practice that has significantly increased the amount of restitution collected and paid to victims of crime. FINCOM’s goal is to increase the payment of all financial sanctions, with special attention to restitution, while helping offenders complete their probation. 

FINCOM established a process for monitoring payments and using graduated responses to enforce financial compliance. Professional debt collectors are hired to work with delinquent cases. The FINCOM program is composed of 14 full-time professional collectors and two supervisors who work with probation officers to hold probationers accountable for financial compliance. 

While the program is similar to business collections units, it differs in that its focus is on educating probationers on prioritizing their financial decisions. FINCOM provides services such as employment resourcing, resume reviewing, budget classes, assessing payment ability, and developing payment plans. Within the program’s first year, restitution increased from $4.78 million to $6.49 million. For several years, restitution collection increased by an average of 15 percent per year, while the probation population grew at an average rate of 5 percent per year. In 2011, the amount of restitution collected rose to $10.86 million. 

FINCOM supervisors also collaborate with various agencies and professionals including the Superior Court, prosecutors, victim advocates, and the Clerk of the Court. One important result of this collaboration was the establishment of the Restitution Enforcement Court, a cooperative effort of the Superior Court, FINCOM, and the Clerk of the Courts. Judges use existing Arizona civil contempt statutes to hold accountable probationers who are significantly delinquent and wilfully noncompliant with restitution orders. 

Since September 2008, Restitution Enforcement Court has collected $536,000 in delinquent restitution. The FINCOM program is an innovative approach that applies a business model for collections in a community corrections setting. The result is a significant increase in the collection of restitution for victims of crime.