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Fines and Non Custodial Sentencing

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  • 1. Fines and Non-Custodial Sentencing Johanna and Holly
  • 2. Fines
    • Fine penalties are financial punishment for crimes or other offences and are paid to the government authorities.
    • Most commonly, small fines are given for traffic violations.
    • They are also used for more serious offences, such as assault or vandalism.
    • Fines can also be used alongside custodial or non-custodial sentencing such as community sentencing.
  • 3. For
    • Fines are cost effective – prison sentences for minor offences cost tax payers more.
    • Prisons cost the taxpayer £27,000 per prisoner per year, whereas through fines money is gained, although on a smaller scale.
    • If fines are given alongside a non-custodial sentence, it is beneficial for the community.
    • Evidence shows that fines reduce re-offending
    • Fines allow people to continue living their life whereas a custodial sentence may have negative effects.
    • Fines reduce the time the police spend doing paperwork, in custodial suites and at court.
    • Fines reduce stigma for the individual and their family which they may receive if a custodial sentence was imposed.
    • 60% of ex-offenders are refused jobs because of their criminal record.
  • 4.
    • Number of offences and proven reoffending rates from the original datasets taken from the Police National Computer database before matching.
    Comparison of proven reoffending rates of matched pairs of offenders who had been cautioned, conditionally charged or fined, 2005-07.
  • 5. Against Fines
    • The offender may commit more offences in order to get the money to pay for the fine.
    • Fines may not have much of an impact if the offender doesn’t pay for it themselves.
    • Fines may not deter wealthy people so perhaps an alternative punishment would be more effective.
    • If a person does not have the wealth to pay a fine, they may be penalised.
    • Unpaid fines means courts are owed a lot of money – 20% of fines remain unpaid.
    • In Northern Ireland over 1,700 people per year enter custody because they have defaulted on fines.
    • Magistrates Association – believes more than 30,000 serious assaults are being dealt with through fines, however the true figure is nearer 40,000 including more than 700 assaults that could have gone to court as GBH.
  • 6. Non Custodial Sentencing
    • Non custodial sentences are often used with fines to help reduce reoffending in a more constructive way than prison.
    • For example –
    • Probation Orders (they must meet certain conditions or they risk more punishment, and these may been given with a suspended sentence or as a condition of early release. Like fines this avoids stigma and disruption of someones life)
    • “ 'Non-custodial community sentences such as unpaid work, supervision, behaviour programmes, drug rehabilitation, alcohol treatment and curfews are often more effective in preventing reoffending than short prison sentences. ”, Secretary of State for Justice Jack Straw (28 February 2008)
    • Other types of community sentencing:
    • unpaid work (40-300 hours);
  • 7.
    • supervision (up to 36 months (24 months maximum for suspended sentence orders));
    • accredited programme (length to be expressed as the number of sessions; must be combined with supervision requirement);
    • drug rehabilitation (6-36 months; 24 months maximum for SSO; offender's consent is required);
    • alcohol treatment (6-36 months; 24 months maximum for SSO; consent required);
  • 8.
    • mental health treatment (up to 36 months; 24 months maximum for SSO; consent required);
    • residence (up to 36 months; 24 months maximum for SSO);
    • specified activity (up to 60 days);
    • prohibited activity (up to 36 months; 24 months maximum for SSO);
    • exclusion (up to 24 months);
    • curfew (up to six months and for between 2-12 hours in any one day; if a stand alone curfew order is made there is no probation involvement);
    • attendance centre (12-36 hours with a maximum of three hours per attendance).
  • 9.
    • http://www.rethinking.org.uk/informed/pdf/alternatives_to_prison.pdf
    • http://www.psychlotron.org.uk/newResources/criminological/A2_AQB_crim_nonCustodial.pdf
    • http://www.niacro.co.uk/briefing-notes/?id=1
    • http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/newsrelease280208a.htm
    • http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmjust/184/18408.htm

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