Different states implement day-fine systems differently. Based on several aspects, mostly, the fine associated with these sentences will be determined by two factors, one is the degree of the offence it self and the other is the financial ability of the victim. Like in Europe, day-fines have applied by choice in most cases. As name suggests, day-fines has its description from the consideration of the convict’s income ability on daily basis, which applies as the foundation of determining the amount payable. Deliberate systems of day-fines have laid down guidelines. Because of its effectiveness, many American judges and other justice enforcers have found option in using the day-fine system as a better way to apply the necessary penalties, proportional to the offence committed leading to decongestion of prisons, which remain reserved for serous offenders. This renders the sentences pleasing to a wide span of American justice as it proves a cost effective measure considering the financial implications of maintaining offenders in prison. Therefore, the use of day-fine system is a good idea because it punishes without compromising the offence committed and at the same time being cost effective to the prisons.
To many people, fines will prove to be a severe punishment where their hard gained incomes becomes the compromise to compensate for offences committed. As studies indicate, convicts who get sentenced to pay fines, there rates of recidivism proved lower when compared to similar offenders sentenced to probation (Tonry & Hamilton, 1995, p. 19). Despite the fact that some of the offenders prove poor to pay the set fines and the perception that fines serve as an escape route from extreme punishment, in America the system is well organized where tariff systems apply in determining the payable amounts. Such a system do not compromise offence and payable amount as they tend to equate equity with consistency, they generally result in fines keyed to the lowest common denominator” (Tonry & Hamilton, 1995, p. 20). This is an advantage to continue implementing the system and even develop it further to enhance effectiveness.
From the day sentences, the judges will not set any fines in favor of any individual or compromise the offence committed, and will tend to apply on non-violent offences. On the contrary, courts have the power to change the amounts payable as fines in a well-organized and considerable manner. To implement such a sentence, the day-fine system gives the judge the option to deliver a sentence that has varied fine standard quantities, and all are representative of the offence committed. Therefore, in courts there will always be an appropriate sentence for any crime committed. Then, the other level of implementation, courts determines the currency value applicable for the set standard units by standardizing the share of offender’s daily gain that the court feels satisfied for the reasons of applying fine.
For those who fail to adhere to the sentences, such that the fail to pay their fines, the system should set guidelines that manage such situations. For instance, there should be a comparable prison sentence to fines payable, such that if one fails to pay the fine imposed by one day, then he/she is at the disposal of spending one day in prison. As there should be a limit for day fines (like up to 720 days for extreme cases), these limits may fail to apply because like in Germany, a study conducted in 1997 showed that only about 6 to 7 % of cases lead to imprisonment as a result of failing to pay the specified fine (Smit & Dunkel, 2001, p. 293). If imprisonment does not become an option, then community service and probation can be applicable. This means a one-day fine can be equivalent to for instance, 6 to 8 hours work on community service. In addition, reconciliation may apply when it comes to juvenile cases.
In conclusion, day-fine systems are a good idea to implements as it gives punishment to offenders proportional to their offence. As statistics indicate, it s a best way to decongest the prisons hence saving the taxpayers money. If convicts fail to pay the necessary fines, then they can serve community services or go to probation as well as risk going behind bars. It is no doubt that day fine system is a worth undertaking legislation.
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