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Cumberland County offers a deal to avoid jail time

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CARLISLE, CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. -- Cumberland County, is giving people a chance to make amends.

The county will give amnesty to anyone who has missed a court date, violated parole, or passed on paying a fine.

Anyone who's had a run in with the law in Cumberland County, but has failed to pay their debt to society, is getting a second chance to make things right.

Cumberland County assistant court fiscal investigator Melissa Horner said "we are doing the amnesty program to try to clean up old cases. We are also giving people the opportunity that if they have a warrant to come in without the fear of being placed in jail."

It's a collaborative effort between the Warrant Collections Unit, the Sheriff's Department, and the District Attorney's office in Cumberland County.

"We've been focusing on trying to make the victims whole. They didn't ask for any of this to happen to them," Horner said.

There are thousands of open files, some going back to the 1980s. No matter how old the fine or restitution to be made, the county will work out a monthly payment plan for those who make the commitment to get back on track.

"A hundred dollars a month is your standard payment plan, if there is a large amount of restitution due, $2500 or more, you're standard payment plan is $250," Horner said.

Some victims or taxpayers may worry if amnesty means its a 'get out of jail free card.'

"No one is being excused from paying," Horner said.

However, the program will keep those who owe from being arrested on a warrant.

"It's $65 a day on average to house an inmate in the prison, so this is much more cost effective," Horner said.

Once a person 's fines are paid up, the county will consider the file, 'case closed.'

Cumberland County Amnesty Days will be held October 20th and 21st.