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.