Fines in Scotland were examined with respect to their history, nature, forms, use, enforcement, and imprisonment for defaults.
The analysis revealed that common concerns expressed in the literature are achieving equality of impact of financial penalties on offenders with different financial means, maintaining the credibility of the fine through efficient enforcement measures, and reducing the level of nonpayment of monetary penalties. In addition, fines have a central role in the Scottish criminal justice system. Many sentencers are ambivalent regarding allowing time to pay in installments and whether to specify the alternative of imprisonment at imposition. Enforcement mechanisms include those aimed at willful defaulters and those aimed at offenders with limited financial resources and ability to pay. The peak of fine defaults in the 1980's coincided with a decline in the use of the fine. Low income, mismanagement of limited income, and competing financial commitments all contributed to defaults. However, it is often difficult to distinguish between inability to pay and unwillingness to pay. Issues for the 1990's include improved enforcement, unit fines, and the role of the compensation order. Tables and 108 references
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