PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Information about how Rhode Island dispenses $1.7 million in a crime victims’ compensation fund is being kept under wraps.
Treasurer Seth Magaziner and his office have remained mum on the details of the victim's relief fund, the Providence Journal reported Thursday.
The fund is financed and run with state and federal dollars and court fines and provides up to $25,000 in reimbursement to victims for expenses accrued from violent crimes.
The regulations that govern the program have outlined that the application, approval or denial of awards should “be deemed public records.”
Magaziner’s legislative director, LeeAnn Byrne, said the bid to exempt these details from public disclosure — including the monetary awards — is being made out of concern for the safety of the victims.
The fund is meant to reimburse for things like crime-scene cleanup, funeral and medical expenses, mental-health counseling and more.
Gov. Gina Raimondo has recommended an increase in state funding for the program from $1.7 million this year to more than $2.1 million during the fiscal year that begins July 1. Most of the increase will be funded through a spike in court fees.
Byrne told the House Judiciary Committee earlier this week the emergency aid program “served over 1,200 Rhode Islanders,″ including 42 victims of domestic violence who received money to relocate, and “nearly 200 children who were victims of violent crimes.”