Portion of Westmoreland prisoners' cash could go to crime victims
The Westmoreland County Prison Board has authorized tapping a new resource to secure restitution owed to crime victims.
The board on Monday unanimously approved an idea proposed by Clerk of Courts Bryan Kline that will permit county prison officials to deduct money from personal accounts of inmates to pay toward their fines, court costs and restitution. Deductions can be taken only from prisoners who are formally sentenced.
“I think restitution to crime victims should be a priority,” Kline told the board.
Warden John R. Walton said the prison currently deducts 50 percent of the deposits from the personal prison accounts of adjudicated inmates to reimburse the county for costs associated with their incarceration.
“What we'll do now is take 20 percent of that 50 percent and designate it for fines, court costs and restitution, still leaving us about 30 percent for room and board,” Walton said.
Family members often set up accounts at the prison for inmates to spend at the commissary, prison officials said.
Deductions for sentenced prisoners are automatically taken from the accounts.
Walton estimated that the prison general fund has benefited by about $200,000 a year from the room-and-board assessment.
It will now collect about $120,000 annually, while about $80,000 will be forwarded to Kline's office to pay fines, court costs and restitution.
The proposal must receive the approval of Common Pleas Court judges, according to Sheriff Jonathan Held, who chairs the prison board.
It likely will take effect after Jan. 1.
Last spring, Kline was appointed to a statewide task force, funded by the state Commission on Crime and Delinquency, to study how to improve the restitution process for crime victims.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bubble players get last chance to impress Steelers
- Steelers accomplish mission to get younger, faster on defense
- 4-year-old transplant recipient Angelo Giorno from Derry on life support, family says
- Movement along the offensive line continues for Pitt as opener approaches
- Hacker stuns Dayton family with computer takeover
- Jeannette native Pryor’s fate hangs in balance
- Don’t miss matchups for Week 1 of WPIAL football season
- MLB notebook: Fenway fan injured after trying to catch foul ball
- Valley will feature dynamic duo in Bradley, King
- Penn State impact safety Allen working to improve
- In reworking contract, Steelers WR Brown gets hefty pay raise