Collection Improvement Program
Key Elements of the Collection Improvement Program (CIP)
The key elements of the Program are:
- Staff or staff time dedicated to collection activities.
- Expectation that all court costs, fees, and fines are generally due at the time of assessment (sentencing or judgment imposed date).
- Defendants unable to pay in full on the day of assessment are required to complete an application for extension of time to pay.
- Application information is verified and evaluated to establish an appropriate payment plan for the defendant.
- Payment terms are usually strict.
- Alternative enforcement options (e.g., community service) are available for those who do not qualify for a payment plan.
- Defendants are closely monitored for compliance, and action is taken promptly for non-compliance:
- Telephone contact and letter notification are required when a payment is missed;
- Possible issuance of a warrant for continued non-compliance; and
- Possible application of statutorily permitted collection remedies, such as programs for non-renewal of driver's license or vehicle registration.
- A county or city may contract with a private attorney or a public or private vendor for the provision of collection services on delinquent cases (61+ days), after in-house collection efforts are exhausted.
An in-depth description of the components is available for review.
The Collection Improvement Program began over a decade ago as a voluntary model. In 2005, the 79th Texas Legislature recognized the importance of expanding the collection of court-ordered payments by adding Article 103.0033 to the Code of Criminal Procedure. This statute requires cities with a population of 100,000 or more, and counties with a population of 50,000 or more, to implement a Collection Improvement Program based on OCA's model. Population is based on the most recent federal decennial census. Prior to the 2010 federal census, a total of 78 counties and cities were required to implement a program, Based on the 2010 federal census, an additional 8 counties and 5 cities are required to implement a program, resulting in a total of 91 programs (62 counties and 29 cities). Estimated Additional Revenue Generated Estimated Additional Revenue Generated by Mandatory Collection Improvement Programs
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The estimated additional revenue for the required/mandatory cities and counties is based on revenue reported to the Comptroller, information obtained from the pre- and post-mandatory collection rate determinations conducted by the Comptroller and the OCA CIP Audit Department, and conviction (including deferred adjudications and deferred dispositions) statistics reported to OCA by the courts or clerks. Although Harris County has received a waiver from implementing OCA’s CIP, the collection program for the county-level and district courts has implemented OCA’s CIP requirements. Therefore, the collections for those courts (40% of the total county court collections) are included in the estimated additional revenue.