Too poor to pay your fine? Why it's counterproductively off to a corrupt, violent, double bunked prison for you!
Government gets tough on fines
Drivers with overdue traffic fines could have their licences suspended under a new law, which would also send people with overdue fines to prison.
The proposed law - the Courts and Criminal Matters Bill - introduces stiffer penalties for overdue fines.
It is before a parliamentary select committee, and is likely to become law early this year.
Now, at first glance the idea of sending people who can't pay their court fine off to prison sounds like a fantastic plan, mostly because NZ is a redneck nation who get a woody at the idea of punishing prisoners, (which is the reason we pointlessly stripped them of voting rights last year), however, if we could just get past the initial excitement of adding yet more NZers into our second highest incarceration rate in the world, one might note that sending people to prison for unpaid fines might actually be a really stupid idea.
Now I know you'll hate to hear that, especially as you were all getting excited about trashing prisoners again, but throwing people into our violent, corrupt, double bunked prison nation for the benefit of private prison corporate profits for people who can't pay their fines, might be slightly counter productive.
Let's remind ourselves that the Court's currently have the power to seize your assets to pay off any fines, so the people we are talking about here are too poor to pay for the fines, and throwing them in Prison means they'll have even less chance of paying off the fine once they are released, what with the stigma associated with Crims, it's not like they have a high re-employment rate.
One could also add, and I do so gently because I realize NZ loves to lynch dirty filthy crims and denying you all the chance is like taking candy away from a baby, but ireland who already have this power to imprison people with fines, have decided to dump it because as a law, it's, well, 18th century, draconian and down right evil.
If we allow the state to imprison people for fines, what's to stop them expanding it to solo fathers late with their child support? Students late in paying their student loans? Anyone owing anything to the tax department, folks, once we allow Court fines to be an imprisonable offense, why we can throw almost anyone who owes money into prison.
Shouldn't prison be the last resort for serious crime rather than the first resort with a really low trigger threshold or have we allowed the media's myopic ratings driven focus on crime and the politically generated outrage it creates to manipulate us into
the baying mob of a public execution?
I think we all know it's the latter. screw the poor and throw away the key.