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France mulls plan to hit criminals with €10 fines

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France mulls plan to hit criminals with €10 fines
France is mulling a €10 surcharge for criminals to help pay for victim support. Photo: Images of Money
16:12 CEST+02:00
A socialist MP has proposed hitting criminals in the pocket with compulsory €10 fines that would help pay the costs of victim support. The mastermind of the scheme has labelled it a “civic-minded approach” to crime.

Nathalie Nieson, the socialist MP for the Drôme region of France has come up with idea of forcing criminals to pay for their crimes with the money raised being handed over to charities that offer support to victims of crime.

Nieson came up with the idea after Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault presented the MP with the task of coming up with possible solutions to help the precarious financial state of 170 publicly funded associations that provide psychological and legal aid to victims.

According to a confidential 37 page report entrusted to the Ministry of Justice, which was seen by Le Parisien newspaper, Nieson suggested, among other ideas, issuing criminals with a €10 supplementary fine that would go straight to victims.

“From the moment that someone commits a crime, the act of participating a little more financially in the support of the victim is a way for society to take a more civic-minded approach (to the crime)” the MP told radio station RMC radio previously.

Nieson was apparently inspired by the Canadian model where a “supplementary compensation fine” has been in place since 1989 and “works very well,” she said.

In Canada the surcharge is added to fines for all offences from petty theft to murder. For Nieson, however, this isn’t far enough. She wants to see the fine added to speeding tickets for going over 50km/h, drink driving fines and for drivers driving without the correct papers.

However anyone handed a parking fine or cautioned for other minor road offences will be spared the surcharge.

Nieson’s report develops her idea further, suggesting using goods seized by French customs police and criminal property confiscated by police to help finance the victim aid associations.

A spokesperson from the Institute for Justice (IPJ) has praised the report saying, “Nathalie Nieson’s study shows an awareness that the finances of victim aid organisations are in a fragile state."

The MP has also won praise for her scheme from Sabrina Bellucci, president of the National Institute for victim aid and mediation (Inavem) who said, “a lot (of oganisations) put themselves in danger of bankruptcy so that they can help the 320,000 people per year who need their services. This contribution victime is a question of survival.”

The report is currently under the consideration of Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who, if she gives her approval for the scheme, will then pass on the report to the Finance Minister Moscovici who will have the final say.

A source close to the finance minister told Le parisien, “Bercy will analyse the efficiency of these measures, but it won’t happen straight away.” 

by Naomi Firsht

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