The Day Fine for New Zealand's Justice System Research Paper by Metro

The Day Fine for New Zealand's Justice System
An exploration of the day fine system and its proposed implementation in New Zealand.
# 153932 | 0 words | 0 sources | 2013 | NZ
Published on Jun 24, 2014 in Law (Criminal) , Criminology (Criminal Justice and Corrections)

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From the Paper:

"A day fine applies a punishment proportional on those who receive it. These fines originated in Finland in 1921 and now operate in several other jurisdictions. Hillsman and Greene explain how the system is "designed to produce monetary punishments that are proportionate to the gravity of the offenses, but equivalent in punitive impact for offenders with different financial resources."
"To begin with, offenses are given a penalty unit depending on their level of serious, e.g. an assault would have a higher penalty unit than a minor theft. Following this, Greene discusses how the "value of each unit is then established as a share of the offender's daily income... and the total fine amount is determine by a simple multiplication." Because the fine amount depends on the offender's daily income, rather than a set tariff fine, the result is a proportional fine system, where offenders are fined a percentage based on their finances. These are known as day fines because "each penalty unit should function as the punitive equivalent of one day in jail" for that particular offender.
"Now that we have a basic understanding of the day fine system, we must consider arguments of principle in relation to them to determine whether they would be suitable for New Zealand.
"When evaluating the proposal for a day fine system in New Zealand there are three major arguments of principle to consider; ensuring day fines are a fair and just form of punishment, that they meet society's goals for punishment, and that the system would be economically viable. We will now consider each issue in turn.
"a. Are day fines just?
To implement the day fine system we must be satisfied it is a fair and just punishment. One way of confirming this is to ensure the day fine is a proportionate punishment to the offence it is being used for. Because day fines alter depending on the income level of the offender, amounts imposed can vary greatly, though critics generally accept that the "system is designed to produce monetary penalties that are... equivalent in punitive impact for offenders with different financial resources." Turner and Greene confirm this and state that day fines are "equitable in [their] attempts to treat the rich offender and the poor offender the same."
"As a result of day fines, those with high income levels receive a punishment similar to those with low income levels; both are fined a proportionate amount based on the severity of their offence. The US Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has stated that "tariff fines are inherently unfair because, all too often, the fine amounts are too low to be meaningful to affluent offenders." In response to this, because both offenders are punished proportionately equally, the day fine becomes an equitable system of punishment."

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