Harris County Brings Restitution Online
by: Laurie Johnson, December 14, 2009 9:12:48 pm
For years, the Harris County restitution program was run on a ledger-based system that led to a backlog of more than $1 million in unpaid claims.
Now the system is online, with a function that allows people to search their name or case number.
George Flynn with the Harris County District Attorney's Office says some victims are eligible for a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars in restitution.
"Depending on the nature of the crime, it can help make them whole for theft losses for example, or for injuries or damages as a result of a crime."
The new system, listed on the DA's website under the Helping Victims column, has real-time tracking of payments and notification when funds are available.
Because the old system was so antiquated, Flynn says they lost track of dozens of crime victims who may have money coming to them.
"They've even assigned investigators to, in some cases, ring doorbells, check databases and try to seek out these people from previous years."
Flynn says this year the Harris County restitution system has paid out $3.6 million to crime victims.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.