Paying for crime?

Kezia Dugdale flags up a thought provoking story in the Scotsman today regarding the Scottish Governments plans to make criminals pay for the funerals of their victims - whether that be murder, culpable homicide or something like a dangerous driving offence.

Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, outlined the measures, which will be in the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill that goes before the Scottish Parliament next month.

He told a victim support conference in Glasgow yesterday: "We aim to give criminal courts more flexibility to award compensation against an offender, and update the remit of compensation orders so they can reflect changes in the means of the offender, and be used to pay funeral and bereavement expenses to the relatives of a deceased victim. If supported by parliament, these important changes will help more victims and their families.

I can understand the reasoning. Why should I fork out for the expenses caused by another person's act of destruction?

But I have a knee jerk reaction of ych a fi to the idea.

I hope that such circumstances never arise, but if one of my nearest and dearest should die as a victim of crime, the idea that the perpetrator of that crime should invade my final goodbyes by paying for the funeral is just abhorrent.

That a criminal should forfeit his/her assets to a general fund that paid out a funeral grant might be acceptable - but a direct link between the perpetrator and the victims funeral is just too horrid to contemplate.

When Wales has responsibility for its own justice system, this SNP policy is one that I hope our National Assembly doesn't follow.

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