Restitution in the Juvenile Justice System

Restitution is the part of a sentence given by a judge to pay back victims for their direct losses because of the crime. This can be for loss of property, loss of money, and medical and counseling bills. It cannot include payments for pain and suffering, loss of value, or interest payments.

You can be paid back for the money you lost as a result of a crime. You may not collect for the same loss twice, but you may choose one or more of the following ways to recover your losses.

Court Ordered Restitution
Victim / Witness Services restitution advocates prepare a worksheet for the judge to order restitution. We ask to have the money paid to you for your out-of-pocket expenses, bills you have paid, bills you owe, and insurance deductibles. We ask to have the money paid to your insurance company or other benefit plan that has paid your bills or has paid you for your losses.

You must tell us about the money that you think should be paid back. Download a Restitution Claim Form, fill in this form, and mail it to:
Victim / Witness Services
50. N. Duke St.
Lancaster, PA 17608

You can also fax the form to 717-209-3164. If you have questions, please call Victim / Witness Services at 717-299-8048 to speak to a restitution advocate.

At the disposition (outcome of the case) hearing, the judge will order the amount of restitution to be paid. This is based on the information we received from you. After disposition of the case, the juvenile should begin making payments. The money is collected by the Juvenile Probation Department.

Restitution Timeline
Once a month, the Clerk of Courts office mails checks for the money that was received from the juvenile in the previous month. When the juvenile pays, the first $60 is used to pay court costs. All of the money that is paid after the first $60 is used to pay restitution until it is completely paid off. After restitution is paid, the payments pay fines and court costs.

If your name or address changes, you must call Victim / Witness Services at 717-299-8048. If you have questions about the amount of restitution ordered, please call Victim / Witness Services to speak to a restitution advocate. If you have questions about the collection of restitution, call Juvenile Probation at 717-299-8016.

Civil Suits
You may choose to sue the juvenile’s parents in a civil suit at a magisterial district judge’s office. You may obtain information on civil suits from a victim advocate or by contacting your local magisterial district judge office.

Victims Compensation Assistance Program
This program pays out-of-pocket medical and counseling bills, loss of wages or support, and cash loss of benefits as a result of a crime. Property losses are not covered. The Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) is a payer of last resort, which means all other benefits available to you (HMO, Medicare, and other insurances) must be used. The crime must have been reported to the police. You can learn more about the program and receive help in filing a claim by calling Victim / Witness Services at 717-299-8048.

Restitution Paid From Offender by Agreement Through LAVORP
If you choose to participate in a joint meeting with the offender facilitated by a mediator from the Lancaster Area Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (LAVORP), you may work out an agreement for restitution directly with the offender. Experience has shown that an offender is more likely to pay restitution that is arranged during a face to face meeting with the victim.