Former Police Chief, Cuthbert Phillips, has called on the authorities to examine current laws relating to child support, suggesting that incarcerating fathers who cannot pay is counterproductive.
“What exactly do you want to do? You want the child or the child’s mother to get some form of support and if you decide this is the manner in which you are going to do it, all parties suffer,” Phillips told the Times.
He said that putting delinquent fathers in jail costs the state to keep the individual in prison.
Phillips proposed that other methods be used – perhaps attempting to employ the defaulter.
He told the Times if the person is employed, it can be made mandatory that a percentage of his remuneration go towards the upkeep of his child or children.
“You have some of these fathers who go overseas and do work on these farm projects, I would say that whatever money is held back a portion can be given to their children,” the former Police Chief observed.
“The idea of sending them to prison – I don’t think this works, except if you send them to prison to do some work there and pay him so that when he comes out at least the child will get some money, but when he comes out of prison it would be difficult for him to get a job anywhere.”
Phillips served as Police Commissioner from 1982 to 1988.