When someone is victimized in a crime, the court can order the offender to pay the victim restitution. But according to the Office of Pennsylvania Courts, many victims never receive that restitution.
“Only 12 percent of mandated restitution is dispersed to the victims, only 12 percent which is ridiculous because these people are owed their money. A lot of people just evade; they try to avoid their restitution and this is two more bills aimed at trying to collect it for victims,” said Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton County).
Those bills, SB127 and SB126, would require that court-ordered restitution be taken from an offender’s state income tax refunds and authorize that court-ordered restitution be taken from lottery winnings of $2,500 or more, respectively.
The bills were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and will now be considered by the full Senate.
Boscola also introduced a third bill, SB346, which would require prisons to deduct restitution from an inmate’s personal account. Current law allows correctional facilities to do that, this bill would make the practice mandatory. That bill is still awaiting consideration from the Judiciary Committee.