Helping crime victims get restitution
MIDDLEBURG – The Pennsylvania Task Force on Restitution has released a report on recommended improvements to state laws and procedures for ordering and collecting restitution from offenders. District Attorney Mike Piecuch is a member of the 39-member task force and explained the importance of restitution for crime victims.
He said, “I have talked to victims and they say, I want them to pay. And they mean that on a lot of different levels. It doesn’t just mean what offenses they plead to, the sentence of supervision or jail time. It also means helping with the economic financial damage that is caused by crimes. A critical component of accountability is to get criminal offenders to make their victims whole. It’s economic justice for crime victims.”
Piecuch says the task force members met over a year-long period and came up with 47 recommendations. He said, “Some of the ones that I’m most interested in is defeating that old myth of you can’t get blood from a stone. There is restitution out there that we are not getting at.”
He said there are different ways to do that. Piecuch said, “There is wage garnishments and wage attachments. There are deductions from inmate’s commissary accounts. Also, down to just the way we go about determining whether an offender is capable of paying restitution.”
Piecuch says work the task force has done so far is not a conclusion, but an ongoing process to promote and implement best practices for obtaining restitution for crime victims. The complete report from the task force can be found online at www.PA-RestitutionTaskForce.info. (Ali Stevens)