Mr Denham will tell a conference organised by Policy Review magazine that beefing up community punishments for unemployed people is the equivalent of the courts imposing higher fines for those with higher incomes.
A 100-hour community sentence will have far less impact on someone on the dole than their counterpart holding down a full-time job or looking after a family, he will say. Mr Denham's comments are likely to enrage civil liberties campaigners on the grounds that they amount to discrimination against the poor.
Rather than giving the unemployeed higher sentences, how about giving them help. If someone is unemployed because of mental health issues or drug addiction or illiteracy or lack of job skills it may be cheaper to help those people with the problems which contribute to criminal behavior.
Unfortunately many systems that are supposed to help instead fail large numbers of people and then put all of the blame on those who weren't helped into self-sufficiency and non-criminal behavior.
Technorati tags: crime politics