Sunday, 26 October 2014

Morality 16: Fines

Higher RMPS Podcast
Types of Punishment - Fines

This is available as an MP3 or to download as a podcast through iTunes
for Desktop and Apple devices, as well as PodcastHD for Android Devices.

Fines can be in the form of fixed penalty notices, such are parking tickets, speeding fines, or littering, and court ordered fines for more serious offenses. Fixed penalty notices are roughly £50 and can be given by the local authority, for example by community support workers or parking attendants, and by the police.  The courts can order a larger fine, order you to pay court costs, and pay damages to the victim.

Strengths:  Fines can generate money both for the national government as well as for local councils.  Fines can be varied so larger fines are given for more serious crimes.  Sheriffs also have the authority to seize property and levy harsher fines against someone’s income.  They can also stop benefits if the criminal has no money.

Weaknesses:  A fixed penalty is just that, fixed.  A millionaire gets a £50 parking fine just like the rest of us; this can seem unfair.  What impact does a small fine have on someone with such wealth?  Fining someone who is already living in poverty can send them deeper into poverty, increasing the risk they may turn to more severe crime in order to pay the fine.

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