National’s Sentencing Policy

has now released its full sentencing, parole and bail policy. Key elements:

  • No for the worst repeat violent offenders – those sentenced at least twice to prison terms of five years or more (already announced)
  • Life without parole to be made available to Judges as a sentence for the worst murderers
  • Substantially increase penalties for causing the death of a child when there is a history of neglect
  • Makes the point that assault on a child currently has a maximum two year penalty – one year less than the maximum three years for wilfully ill-treating an animal!
  • Review whether to maintain home detention as an option for violent and sexual offenders
  • Reverse Labour’s changes to the laws that made it easier for people to get – even if they have broken conditions previously
  • Increase from $7,500 to $50,000 the maximum amount that can be in dispute and heard by the Disputes Tribunal, allowing more time in District Courts for criminal cases

I imagine there would be only one or two murders a year which are so heinous that a Judge would sentence someone to life without parole. They may be people who might never have got parole anyway, but this means the family of the victims do not have the trauma of having to submit to the Parole Board every year on why so and so should remain in jail. It truly gives the victims’ family a life sentence also.

UPDATE: A useful example from the comments:

As much as Labour try to trumpet the Sentencing Act 2002 as ‘getting tough on crime’ they fail to mention the Sentencing amendment Act 2007 which is anything but.   3 defendants appearing on their 8th, 9th and 10th drink drive charges respectively. Under the new senting guidelines of the 2007 Act, home detention and community detention are to be considered for suitability in all drink drive cases before the imposition of imprisonment. Despite one defendant having been imprisoned on both prior occasions and despite blowing 2.5 times the legal limit (Twice the level he returned at the last time he received jail) and crashing into a parked car, none of the defendants received anything more than 6 months community detention (Essentially means they are curfewed at night). Another defendant received 16 months imprisonment for his 31st burglary conviction…

So previously these repeat drink drivers were sent to prison (totally appropriate for a 8th or greater offence) but now they just get community detention which means they can carry on drink driving until they kill someone. Remember to have been convicted eight times of drink driving, you have probably driven drunk on more than 1,000 occassions as most people get checked less than 1 in 100 times they are out.

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