The district attorney’s office who prosecuted the person(s) in your case likely provided you with a number of forms including a restitution form. In order to receive restitution there are a number of requirements that must be met including include submitting that form PRIOR to the person being sentenced by the judge.
Restitution is only for out-of-pocket expenses that are directly related to the crime and may include medical expenses, counseling expenses, car repairs and the like. It CANNOT include pain and suffering. You will likely need documentation of the loss, which can include receipts, estimates, and other similar forms of verification. RESTITUTION MUST BE ORDERED AT THE TIME OF SENTENCING AND CANNOT BE ORDERED AFTERWARD.
Restitution is a condition of the person’s sentence. The inmate will likely begin to satisfy this while in prison. A number of county jails, as well as the state prison system, take a percentage (it varies from county to county, but all state prisons take 20%) of the money that is placed in an inmate’s account including money received from family/friends and from wages earned while in prison. Please be aware that employment within prison typically pays less than 25 cents per hour and restitution payments while the inmate is in prison are typically small.
Money collected is sent to the county that prosecuted the individual. The county will verify and disperse these funds as their procedures dictate. This may include dividing payments received among many different victims or satisfying older cases first. Due to the fact that counties have different methods of doing this, it is necessary to call the prosecuting county’s clerk of courts office to find out how your county does this.
If you believe that you should be getting restitution and are not, please contact the victim/witness unit in the district attorney’s office that handled your case to verify that the restitution was ordered. If it has been ordered, OVA may be able to assist with information regarding payments for state offenders.
You may also get information regarding payment of restitution from the Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System website, via a computer and the Internet. You will need the docket number assigned to your case by the prosecuting county. These typically look like this: CP-09-CR-0005432-2015.
Use the Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System website to find out about your restitution, here is a step by step guide to accessing this system: Restitution Screen Shot Instructions. (pdf)
Restitution in PA Task Force
The Restitution in Pennsylvania Task Force was convened by the Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate in collaboration with the Center for Schools and Communities, and brought together key stakeholder individuals, agencies and organizations across all stages of victim restitution work.
The Task Force conducted a thorough review of restitution processes at the state and local level in order to identify gaps and develop recommendations/solutions to maximize the justice systems' effectiveness. These findings are offered in The Restitution in Pennsylvania Task Force Report. (pdf)
This report includes 47 recommendations, which are grounded in research and interrelated to ensure that a comprehensive approach is used to move the recommendations forward at the county and state levels. Many of the 47 recommendations are currently being implemented throughout the Commonwealth. If you wish to have a presentation done on the report please contact the Victim Advocate, Jennifer Storm at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks for the content contributions made to this report from Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts; Juvenile Court Judges' Commission; Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole; Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency; and Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. The project was funded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
As part of the taskforce recommendations, the PA Board of Probation and Parole formed a Restitution Subcommittee to encourage and enhance the collection and enforcement of restitution among those on supervision.
A tip sheet was created to encourage state parole agents to increase their collection and enforcement efforts. While this sheet is created around state parole, it can be adapted to fit county probation and OVA would welcome the use of this sheet by anyone who felt it could motivate agents and officers in assisting to restore crime victims financially to the extent possible.