Suffolk County Probation Department – Restitution Payments (S9-20-9)

Issued Date
December 14, 2021

[read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether the Suffolk 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 all victim restitution payments. As a result, some victims may never receive the payments to which they are entitled.

  • Officials are unnecessarily holding nearly $1.3 million that should be used to pay victims with unsatisfied restitution orders. Some of this money was collected in the 1980’s.
  • Officials did not establish adequate policies and procedures to enforce and monitor restitution orders.
  • 22 of the 44 restitution orders we reviewed had uncollected payments totaling $47,831.
  • 870 listed outstanding checks totaling $179,159 were not properly followed up on and/or recorded accurately.

In addition, officials did not maintain a complete and accurate list of unsatisfied restitution orders, distribute all available restitution, or maintain sufficient undisbursed restitution records.

Key Recommendations

  • Establish adequate 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 disagreed with some of our findings and recommendations. Appendix B includes our comments on issues raised in the County’s response letter.