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Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Boscola’s Crime Victims’ Restitution Bills
On July 14, 2015 ·
Harrisburg, July 14, 2015 – The state Senate Judiciary Committee today unanimously approved two bills sponsored by Sen. Lisa Boscola that would help crime victims collect court-ordered restitution.
“These measures will ensure that if a person is victimized, they will be reimbursed for financial losses,” Boscola said. “My legislation helps close some existing loopholes in state law. I am encouraged by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s unanimous support.”
The bills, which now go to the full Senate for consideration, would:
• require that court-ordered restitution be taken from an offender’s state income tax refunds (Senate Bill 127). 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 126). Boscola said a victim’s restitution should be satisfied before offenders can collect big lottery prizes.
Boscola said that the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts noted that only 12 percent of victims ever end up receiving their restitution.
The bills were recommended in a report issued by the Restitution in Pennsylvania Task Force in February of 2014. The task force was convened by the State Office of Victim Advocate.
Boscola has also introduced a third bill (Senate Bill 346) 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 puts the rightful financial interests of crime victims over their perpetrators,” Boscola said. “I will continue to seek ways to help crime victims recover and put their lives back together.
# # #
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