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Wrongful Compensation Could Rise

RC, flickr

Sacramento County Jail

RC, flickr

(AP) - Ex-prisoners who were wrongfully convicted would be eligible for larger restitution payments from the state under a bill gaining the Assembly's endorsement.

Members voted unanimously Tuesday to approve SB635, which seeks to increase compensation awarded to individuals who have been exonerated for the crimes for which they were imprisoned. It would be the first increase in 15 years.

The bill by Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber would raise the compensation rate from $100 for each day served to $140. It would also count time jailed prior to a conviction toward eligibility.

Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta of Oakland says the modest increase would help address what he says is perhaps the greatest nightmare in the American criminal justice system.

The legislation returns to the Senate for a final vote.