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Social Security as a Criminal Sanction

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This paper examines the difficulties with the use of social security as a criminal sanction. The problems are considered in the context of a specific example under the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000, which makes receipt of social security benefit conditional upon compliance with a community sentence. This concept of conditionality is inherent in the current social agenda designed to deal with claimants and offenders alike. However, the paper argues that in terms of punishment and deterrence, and benefit conditionality, the sanctions are counterproductive, since they create significant problems which ultimately undermine the objectives of the criminal justice and social security systems.

Keywords: Benefit Conditionality; Criminal Justice; Sanctions; Social Control; Social Security

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2004

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