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JustSpeak condemns unequal treatment of blue collar crime

JustSpeak condemns unequal treatment of blue collar crime

“JustSpeak welcomes research showing the discrepancy between the treatment of blue collar and white collar fraud in the criminal justice system, and calls for urgent action from the Government to address discrimination.”
“Dr Lisa Marriott’s research showing that blue-collar welfare fraudsters are more likely to be investigated, prosecuted and face harsher penalties sheds light on the structural discrimination in our criminal justice system.”

“While any fraud against the Government should be taken seriously, often those committing so-called benefit fraud are genuinely struggling to make ends meet, whereas those defrauding the Government of tax revenue tend to be in comparatively better financial positions. Furthermore, the latter group tend to commit fraud of much greater amounts.”

“Even the language commonly used – ‘benefit fraud’ as opposed to ‘tax evasion’ – indicates that the former is treated more severely and the latter seen to be less criminal and more administrative. This does not mean that we should become more punitive across the board. Instead we need to address discrepancies in the way in which these two classes of offenders are dealt with and ensure that the sentences of those defrauding the Ministry of Social Development are proportionate to the seriousness of their offence and are not being penalised because they are less able to pay back their ill-gotten gains.”

“JustSpeak believes that those committing fraud are generally not a risk to the safety of the community, so incarceration is a costly and counter-productive solution. We need to look for ways that these people can contribute to their communities, take responsibility for their actions and make good the harm done.”

“The Government needs to take urgent action on this new information, and to acknowledge and address the structural discrimination in our criminal justice system.”

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