Concerns have been raised about a new bill that could see benefit payments cut for offenders who breach their community sentences.
Parliament’s Social Services Committee is currently calling for public submissions on the the Social Security Amendment Bill, which was put forward by National MP Mark Mitchell.
The bill would allow Corrections to have benefit payments for offenders stopped if they continued to disregard written warnings to comply with their community sentences.
Offenders serving community sentences are on probation, which means they are able to serve their sentences in the community but with restrictions on their movements.
Some organisations are worried about the impact the bill could have, and have questioned if it will only drive offenders to re-offend.
Manawatu-based Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Scott Guthrie said he would oppose the bill because people needed to be able to live.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a criminal or not,” he said. “If we do that we’re going to see an increase in the crime rate.
“If people have no money they are going to steal stuff.”
The bill would allow for offender with children to only have their benefits cut by 50 per cent, but Guthrie said any cuts to someone supporting a child was not an option.
“If they are going to cut the benefit by 50 per cent there is no way one adult and one child can live on that.
“That’s just laughable.”
I think the idea isn’t that they then live on that, but that it gives them the incentive to complete their community sentence so their benefit gets restored.