Criminology, probation and stuff

Some musings on criminology with a focus on probation

Should offenders lose their benefits?

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A couple of days ago Iain Duncan Smith said that ‘If you knowingly and willingly embark on criminal behaviour, the consequences of that should be… that you lose some of your benefits under the current system’. But isn’t that the point of a fine? It really annoys me that benefits are seen as some kind of privilege rather than a right (which is especially irksome in the case of contributions-based JSA which is, in effect, someone claiming money back from the state that they have paid into the system).

What this suggests to me is that the government think that those who are in benefits need punishing more than those who are in employment – how does having a job not make one less culpable when found guilty of a crime (in fact, it could increase culpability if the offence is related to an abuse of power in the workplace)? Surely, in the interests of proportionality the fine is a fairer way of financially punishing people than removal of their benefits. In any case, if the offender gets sent to prison (as many rioters are being), they will lose their benefits anyway.

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Written by criminologyandstuff

September 8, 2011 at 11:40 am

Posted in criminal justice

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