Pennsylvania court collections, disbursements rise by nearly $30 million over last decade
Pennsylvania’s courts increased their annual disbursements of collected fees, fines and restitution by more than $29 million over the past decade, a trend explained in part by use of case management computer systems, state judicial officials say.
According to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, those disbursements jumped from $453.8 million in 2009 to about $483.4 million in 2018.
Of last year’s disbursements, the state received $239.2 million, counties split $158.4 million and municipalities shared $42.6 million. Another $39.3 million in restitution was paid to crime victims, while entities such as airports, parking authorities and libraries collectively received $3.9 million.
Regionally, about $128.7 million in collected court funds were disbursed in Westmoreland County from 2009-18, $372.9 million in Allegheny County and $21.8 million in Armstrong County, according to court records.
Officials say computer systems have improved court fee and fine collections — helping to coordinate with the state Department of Revenue, to intercept tax refunds and lottery winnings in order to recoup court-ordered obligations.
Information also is shared with PennDOT, to suspend the driver’s licenses of defendants who fail to pay court costs related to traffic violations, and with an outside collection agency used by 44 Pennsylvania counties.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .