Can't pay or won't pay?: LETTER

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The Independent Online
IN THE article "Mullin accuses CPS after a hit-and-run driver goes free" (26 February) Cal McCrystal told us about a man who for 18 years drove his car unlicensed and uninsured and who in a highly drunken state had knocked down and killed an 84-year-old woman. His punishment was a £600 fine, payable at £3 per week, and a five-year ban from driving. Apparently both the drinking and the driving have continued, as have the court appearances and fines.

"Why more women are going to prison" by Nick Cohen, told us about a woman serving a three-month jail sentence after being fined £460, which she was unable to pay, for fiddling her electricity meter.

The prisons are cramped and overcrowded, but many of the wrong people are inside. Have we grown so materialistic in this country that we can no longer appreciate the inherent and moral differences between crimes against the person and crimes against the purse?

Shelley Miller

London NW6

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