Restitution In Pennsylvania Task Force Calls For Changes To Help Crime Victims, Hold Offenders Accountable
HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Restitution in Pennsylvania Task Force today released its report with recommendations to significantly improve state laws and procedures related to the quality of restitution ordering, collection and disbursement to crime victims.
"Restitution is a restorative justice concept that recognizes the harm to individual victims and attempts to repair the damage caused by the crime," Victim Advocate Carol Lavery said. "It is inherently rehabilitative as it holds the offender accountable and provides the opportunity to right a wrong."
Data show that $434 million in restitution was assessed and $50 million was collected statewide over the past three years. The collection rate is affected by practical factors, including that 33 percent of those assessed are incarcerated, but this report highlights several ways that collection of restitution can be improved.
The 39-member Task Force, chaired by Lavery, was comprised of representatives from all three branches of state government, counties, the criminal and juvenile justice systems, advocacy groups and crime victims.The members met over a 12-month period to determine how to maximize the reimbursement of financial losses to crime victims. The Task Force's 47 recommendations are grouped into four categories:
- Uniformity of Practice
- Strengthening Accountability
- Coordination of Information
- Expansion of Authority
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