Labor wipes prisoners fines while the rest of Victoria pays

Mr WELLS (Rowville) — This members statement condemns the Andrews government’s latest policy to reward criminal behaviour with a time served scheme, which allows criminals in prison to have all of their unpaid fines wiped. It is completely misguided for Labor to promote this as a way to help prisoners blend back into society. Until now offenders who could not pay were able to serve additional prison time or perform community service to work off their debts.

Most Victorians would expect that as a minimum. Now prisoners will not need to take any personal responsibility for their debts, even if they have racked up thousands of dollars in unpaid fines. Labor expects that these people will blend back into society better without having to take any responsibility for their actions or what they owe.

Labor’s latest get-out-of-jail-free scheme undermines a most basic principle of justice — that everyone is equally subject to the rule of law. While criminals in prison can now see their thousands of dollars in fines just vanish, the poorest Victorians, who may have enormous difficulty paying fines, are still required to pay. What does this say to Victorians about respect for the law and being treated fairly? Victorians will be outraged by this travesty of justice, whereby Labor is, yet again, rewarding prisoners over law-abiding Victorians. It is incredible that any government would introduce such an unfair scheme, but Labor have outdone themselves in introducing this while Victoria suffers through an absolute crisis in law and order