Today’s news that the Prosecutor’s Office will take stronger action against convicts who don’t comply with the conditions of their suspended sentences is most welcome. The impression exists that too many people get away with, for example, failing to do their community service or not completing the number of hours involved.
Not that one would necessarily have a great desire to see them locked up, but it’s a matter of fair play. These persons were given an alternative punishment to be spared time in jail, so meeting those requirements is clearly in their own best interest.
The same thing actually goes for fines, in particular where the amount is equated to a certain number of days behind bars. The latter deterrent loses practically all meaning when violators are not made to pay and are allowed to continue walking around freely.
If left unaddressed, these things send the wrong message about local law enforcement and that’s also the case with prison sentences that are not executed for months or even years. While somewhat understandable due to lack of cell space and the need to therefore set priorities, in the long run this practice creates a “delayed justice” situation that is hardly ideal.
“Do the crime; do the time,” it is often said, to which “within a reasonable period” should probably be added. The saying may also be adapted to “do the service/pay the fine or do the time.”