Owed money? In Westmoreland, some will get restitution on prepaid debit card |

Owed money? In Westmoreland, some will get restitution on prepaid debit card

Renatta Signorini
A growing number of Americans say they whip out a credit or debit card even when spending less than $5, according to a survey of 616 people with major credit cards. (Photo courtesy Fotolia/TNS)

A pilot program starting next month at the Westmoreland County Clerk of Courts office will give crime victims another option to access their restitution funds.

Between 50 and 100 crime victims will be selected to receive a prepaid debit card as part of a four-month initial phase of the program in a partnership with CourtFunds, said Bryan Kline, clerk of courts. The program could be expanded to other crime victims in the county if the initial phase works well, he said.

The cards will be mailed to people who have been a victim of crime and have been awarded restitution payments by the court. The county will be able to track the cards and activity on them, and will remotely add funds to them as new payments are made.

It will eliminate the need for checks to be printed and mailed to people who have been a victim of a crime. The department issues between 25,000 and 30,000 restitution checks annually, he said.

“It’s going to be a big savings in the end,” Kline said.

Checks are typically mailed monthly, and sometimes more often, as defendants make restitution payments.

Checks will remain the main method of restitution disbursement for businesses, municipalities, organizations, the county and the state.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter @byrenatta.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.