Erie County Probation Department – Restitution Payments (S9-20-11)

Issued Date
December 14, 2021

[read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether the Erie County (County) Probation Department (Department) officials enforced restitution orders, notified the court when a probationer violated the court order and disbursed victim restitution payments promptly and appropriately.

Key Findings

  • Department officials did not always properly enforce restitution orders, notify the court when a probationer violated the court order, or disburse victim restitution payments appropriately. As a result, some victims may never receive the payments to which they are entitled.
  • Officials did not establish adequate policies and procedures to enforce and monitor restitution obligations.
  • 10 of the 30 restitution orders we reviewed had uncollected payments totaling $24,365.
  • Department officials had $36,013 they could not provide support for the source of the funds that could potentially be used to pay unsatisfied restitution orders.

In addition, officials did not distribute all available undisbursed restitution or maintain sufficient undisbursed restitution records. Department policy also limited paying victims with unsatisfied restitution a maximum of $100 payment each year their probationer’s case was active.

Key Recommendations

  • Establish adequate written policies and procedures for enforcing and monitoring restitution obligations.
  • Provide meaningful oversight.
  • Enforce and monitor restitution according to court orders and Department policies and procedures.

County officials agreed with our recommendations and indicated they will take corrective action. Appendix B includes our comment to the County’s response.