Pilot scheme to tackle fine default
Justice Minister David Ford has today launched a second pilot scheme to provide a better way to deal with fine default.
Running for initially six months in Lisburn, the second scheme will run along side the original pilot in Newry and Mourne, whose operation has been extended until February next year.
A Supervised Activity Order gives the Court a community based alternative for non-payment of a fine rather than a prison term.
It forms part of the Minister’s commitment to fundamentally reform how the justice system deals with fine default and next year he will introduce into the Assembly legislation to overhaul the current arrangements.
David Ford said: “Every year thousands of people are sent to prison for non-payment of fines. We need to find better ways of solving this problem
“Supervised Activity Orders can be part of that solution, and the initial results from our pilot in Newry and Mourne are encouraging.
“Since it began in February, 36 people who might otherwise have gone to prison for the non payment of fines have managed to clear their debt by working in the community.
“That is from one court district, and if we are able to extend these orders across all of Northern Ireland, then we would see a significant decrease in the numbers ending up in prison for fine default.
“Before we can consider that, I am today launching a second pilot and the results from both will be subject to a full evaluation.
“Next year I will also introduce legislation to take fine payments directly from income, and to create a civilianised fine enforcement system.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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