originally posted by: jellyrev
Fines are the least discriminatory way to administer punishment without excessive cruelty.
They can be, but not in our application of them. Fines can only be appropriate if they function on a percentage of income. Let me give you a real
life example, a friend of mine recently got caught for not having renewed the registration on his car. I have no sympathy for him on that front, but
it means his car was impounded (though in his defense, he wasn't driving it, it was just parked on the road).
The impound fees in my town have no cap, and they charge you $50/day to get your car out, after 5 days (including the weekends they're closed on) it
goes up to $70/day. So on Thursday he loses his car, on Friday I give him rides around town so he can sell what few possessions he has to a pawn shop
to get the money together, on Saturday/Sunday the fines accrue, and on Monday he gets his car out. That's 5 days, $250 to get his car out of impound,
plus the $80 registration, plus the $250 fine in the first place. All in all he's out $580 for that mistake.
His job is working at Wendy's and while he's technically full time his hours average closer to $27/week. At the $7.45 he makes that's $201.15 per
week so we're talking about just under 3 weeks worth of income. As fallout from that, his rent is delayed and he's going to pay a fee for late rent.
As part of his rent, his utilities are included. His landlord can't legally kick him out over some delayed rent, but he can shut off the utilities so
his apartment no longer has water, electricity, or internet. Which means that he can't legally live there until he catches up on rent, even though
he's paying for it. All in all, with extremely tight spending it's going to take him several weeks to catch back up on this stuff. And late rent
fees (which cost him another $15/day) another 2 weeks of work for 5 weeks income gone.
On the other hand, to someone making even $40k/year, even if they paid the exact same fine of $580 it would have only cost them 3 and a half days of
work. Once you throw in the better access to money so the car comes out of impound sooner and the fact that it's unlikely to cause secondary fines,
you get down to 1 days worth of work.
How is a fine in that case a fair application of justice?
If enforcement of the law stopped in these nice downtown areas the businesses will become victims of crime and all that investment will move to
a burb and poor people will lose access to those businesses.
I didn't say it should stop. I said the punishment for a crime shouldn't be dependent on your socioeconomic status.
edit on 7-8-2016 by
Aazadan because: (no reason given)