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No Gaol Time for Fine Default

15 Mar 2016

This is the final week of the inquest into the tragic death in custody of Ms Dhu, a 22 year old yamaji woman incarcerated for fine default.

One third of women in WA prisons are locked up for unpaid fines, and this number has increased by nearly 600% between 2008 and 2013. It also doesn’t make sense financially, as prisoners cut out $250 of fines a day, yet it costs $345 per day to incarcerate them.

This is a policy that must change. In 2014 Paul Papalia, Labor Member for Warnbro wrote a discussion paper on this issue and in the 2015 WA Labor platform the party committed as a priority to make changes to community service orders to avoid imprisonment for fine defaults, to fund a custody notification service for WA and gave a commitment to approaching the issue of fine default through the context of justice reinvestment.

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