Harrisburg, January 28, 2014 – The state Senate Judiciary Committee today unanimously approved two bills sponsored by Sen. Lisa Boscola that would help crime victims collect restitution.

“According to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, only 12 percent of victims ever end up receiving their court ordered restitution,” Boscola said. “That is unacceptable.

“Pennsylvania’s restitution system leaves too many opportunities for perpetrators to evade payment to those they victimized. My legislation would help close some of these loopholes, and I am pleased with the Judiciary Committee’s bipartisan vote today.”

The Northampton County lawmaker said her bills were recommended in a 294-page report issued by the Restitution in Pennsylvania Task Force last February.  The task force was convened by the State Office of Victim Advocate.

Boscola’s bills would:

  • require that court-ordered restitution be taken from individual state income tax refunds (Senate Bill 1016). Boscola said the state has the technological capability to cross check those who are due tax refunds with those who owe restitution; and
  • authorize that court-ordered restitution be satisfied from payments to those who win Pennsylvania Lottery prizes of $2,500 or more (Senate Bill 1017). Boscola called it an outrage for gamblers to reap state lottery winnings when they have not satisfied their debt to those they victimized.

Both bills are now positioned to go before the full Senate for a vote.

Boscola also introduced a third bill (Senate Bill 1029) that would require prisons to deduct restitution from an inmate’s personal account.  While current law allows correctional institutions to deduct restitution payments from inmates’ accounts, Boscola’s bill would make it mandatory. That bill remains under consideration in the Judiciary Committee.

“This legislation is about putting crime victims ahead of the financial interests of those who victimized them,” Boscola said. “Our law should do everything possible to prevent perpetrators from ignoring and skipping out on their restitution obligation.”

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