US vs NZ three strikes law

April 13th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A former California Superior Court judge believes the three-strikes law in New Zealand could turn into a cancer.

Eugene Hyman has just resigned after 18 years presiding over cases in the criminal, civil, probate, family and delinquency divisions of the court.

In 1999, he presided over the first juvenile domestic violence court in the United States.

Mr Hyman, who is in New Zealand to visit friends, said part of the reason he had stepped away from being a judge was frustration at the legal system in California. He had often been forced to send people to jail with no parole for relatively minor offences under the state’s three-strikes law.

Hyman is a well known critic of the US law. However the NZ law is very different. You can’t get sentenced to jail with no parole for minor offences under the NZ law. A strike only applies to an offence with a maximum sentence of seven or more years.

New Zealand passed its own three-strikes law through Parliament last year. The effects of the legislation would not be felt for several years until offenders reached their third warning, but there was a risk that more and more offences would be added to the list of those that qualified for a strike, he said.

“By Californian standards, yours is pretty lenient, but has the potential to become cancer.

So in fact he is basically saying the NZ law is fine, he just doesn’t want it changed. Fine – neither do I.

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41 Responses to “US vs NZ three strikes law”

  1. David Garrett (7,700 comments) says:

    DPF: I have commented on this article in GD; I do not have the skills to cut and past my comment here.

    Suffice it to say note how the headline on the Stuff article picks up the “cancer” comment – which is only relevant if our law is altered to be more like California’s – rather than Hymans other comments: that attacks on cops should be met with 15 year minimum sentences with no parole; that minimun sentences have their place; and that there are “badasses” in jail for whom rehabilitation is not a consideration.

    The lefties will never get over the fact that, despite all their smug predictions, ACT did manage to persuade the Nats to support three strikes past first reading, and on into law. One of the amusing things for me is that – largely because of game playing by certain persons – we ended up with a list of “strike” offences broader than my original draft.

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  2. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    Well this leftie thinks 3 strikes is a great idea… just sayin’.

    All the more astonishing when you look at how loose the MP who put it forward usually is. :-P

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  3. Murray (8,803 comments) says:

    Stuff lied its ass off, or more to the point the crap “journalist” who wrote up his interview with the deliberate intention of missrepresenting Eugene.

    Maybe he should sue their asses as a lesson in accurate reporting. If they want to editorialise theres a place for that. An interview isn’t it.

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  4. Viking2 (11,678 comments) says:

    Personally I would like to see it extended that recidivist career criminals that currently have no strikes automatically collect their first one based on their past performances. Two and three would then be a more immediate future and may cause some to rethink and if they don’t then time is looming.

    Removing a lot of the legal aid will also assist so that constant scum and their hang on lawyers will both have to get their act together.
    Never ever saw a reason to pay someone else’s legal costs. Bad enough having to pay for all their other social entitlements.

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  5. David Garrett (7,700 comments) says:

    RRM: best you dont reveal your identity to your Green Party buddies! Loose? Whatever do you mean sir?

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  6. pq (728 comments) says:

    It would be better if we trusted Judges more, and allowed more discretion.
    Judges are being made powerless tools by this legislation.
    ACT are a disgrace for following this line, when it was obviously failing overseas.
    Every person in jail costs us around $90,000 per year,

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  7. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    I think he is assuming that the “get tough on crime” lobby here has the depth that it does in the USA:

    “By Californian standards, yours is pretty lenient, but has the potential to become cancer. My concern is it opens the door and with each [political] party … no-one wants to be outbid by who’s the toughest on crime.

    I suppose we might see National and Act get into a bidding war over who’s going to add the most crimes to the 3 strikes list, but I just can’t see it, somehow…

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  8. Murray (8,803 comments) says:

    Yes trust judges more… with their track record ot letting people out on bail to kill more people. Good plan.

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  9. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    ^^^ Good call Murray;

    Joe Thick in the street has a much better view of the facts of any given case than the presiding High Court Judge does.

    We should probably look at getting more into street justice… just the accused, a bunch of locals and a rope, down at the nearest tree. Power back to the people. We’d be getting tough on crime (TM) then.

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  10. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    “Every person in jail costs us around $90,000 per year,”

    Probably less than the cost of picking up the pieces after the crimes they would commit if they were on the loose.

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  11. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    One of the amusing things for me is that – largely because of game playing by certain persons – we ended up with a list of “strike” offences broader than my original draft.

    Broader – including more sexual offending – but also narrower – excluding some minor violent offending.

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  12. Murray (8,803 comments) says:

    Actually RRM I loked and recidivism amongst bailed offenders. Is that accpetable to you?

    Not that I give the slightest crap about your approval. And yes, more people like Austin Hemmings would make this country a better place.

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  13. David Garrett (7,700 comments) says:

    Thanks to Graeme Edgeler for explaining how to copy and paste from GD to here (the indenting thingie might be too hard for this old codger):

    …….

    A visiting Californian ex-judge has commented on New Zealand’s “three strikes” law, and criminal justice in New Zealand generally. Among the statements quoted in the article are that compared with California, New Zealand’s 3S law is “pretty lenient”; that attacks on police – such as the recent machete attack – should attract a sentence of “15 years minimum, no parole”, that there are some people in jail who are “real bad asses” for whom rehabilitation is not a consideration.

    So what is the headline? “New Zealand Three Strikes law lenient says American ex judge” ? ” 15 years minimum for attacks on police says ex Judge”? No. The actual headline is “Three strikes could become a cancer – ex Judge”

    While the Judge did indeed use the word “cancer”, what he actually SAID was that future governments MIGHT broaden the range of strike offences (some would say that is a good idea, but that’s another argument), and that that could make the law “a cancer”.

    The Judge’s views on 3S New Zealand style will no doubt be quoted elsewhere. A chocolate fish for anyone who can find quotes about 15 year minimum sentences for attacks on police being a good idea, or that compared with California’s law, ours is relatively lenient. But you can bet your ass the “cancer” quote will get major airplay.

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  14. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    For your sake David I hope you don’t practice selective listening in other aspects of your life:

    “Mr Farrar by the standard of some patients I see that lump of yours is pretty benign, but has the potential to become cancer”.

    “So in fact you are basically saying I’m fine”.

    Errrr, no.

    I agree with David Garrett’s summation (!!) of what he did say… that it’s relatively lenient at present but, if perveretd by a future government, has the potential to become cancerous.

    Let’s say you have an opposition that’s bereft of policy and has just published an underwhelming list loaded with precisely the sort of people calculated not to appeal to its conservative working class base. Or maybe you have a government that has no clue how to handle the country’s problems other than borrow-and-hope and smile-and-wave, while its Ministers skim the cream off the top of the economy when they’re not lining up to be fired.

    The attraction of a “law ‘n’ order” auction must be strong. Never mind our competence… the streets are teeming with criminals! The other lot will insist you leave your doors unlocked! Only a vote for us can save you! It works with a large number of people who don’t take time to understand the issues and – more than “they’re strip mining our national parks” and the like, it goes straight to the most visceral part of the human psyche.

    So what the judge is saying is that while the law may be lenient (and that’s lenient compared to California’s, which is acknowledged as the toughest (or “worst” if you’re so inclined) in the Western world) now, it could easily be perverted by desperate and useless politicians looking for an easy pop at the polls.

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  15. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    Rex,

    That argument could be applied to any law making or amendment. If 3 strikes didn’t exist now, there would be nothing to stop a future government creating one that was even more harsh than California’s.

    Put simply – whatever the law is or isn’t right now doesn’t prevent a future Government creating/amending legislation and forcing it through the House with the inherent majority they have as the Government.

    [Notwithstanding certain provisions which may be entrenched and require a higher majority to repeal or amend.]

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  16. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    Lest a rumour begin that David Garrett and I agree on things, let me pose these questions to him:

    that attacks on cops should be met with 15 year minimum sentences with no parole

    And for police who misuse the considerable power granted them to assault the very citizens they are sworn to protect? Like crushing a testicle? Oh I forgot – one of those learned judges the Kiwiblog commentariat like to disparage has decided that the victim’s testicle just swelled up till it had to be amputated by magic, and the fine upstanding officer Folan now “only” faces six counts of assault.

    So common is the use of excess force by police that I’d support a quid pro quo – where either assualt on an officer or assualt by an officer is proved beyond reasonable doubt, the penalty is much harsher than usual. Fair enough?

    that minimun sentences have their place

    I could write a book here but won’t… I’ll just point out that the “get tough” US lawmakers are waking up to the fact that they are inappropriate and there is now a cross-party Bill to remove its application to drug traffickers in at least one legislature while a former US attorney and Republican congressman is warning that mandatory minimum sentences can create unfairness in the justice system.

    there are “badasses” in jail for whom rehabilitation is not a consideration

    We’re in agreement again! But there are two quite separate groups: older men for whom violenet offending is an ingrained way of life; for most of them, sadly, their third strike is an inevitability. And a second cohort of younger men, in jail for serious offences but not yet serious enough to warrant a strike (or perhaps only on their first).

    Given that (I assume) neither of us actually want the “badass” to rack up three serious violent offences so we can safely store them away in a shipping container and would actually prefer that they are deterred from creating more victims, what are you and the SST doing about it, having blown your one chance at legislation on three strikes?

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  17. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    bhudson:

    Sadly, you’re right. I say “sadly” because I think Hyman is saying that bad law gets made incrementally and that having the foundation of bad law on the books makes it easier for it to be messed up later.

    But in NZ I suspect you’re right – we could go straight to hanging for petty theft with barely a murmur from the Paul Henry / Micael Lhaws fan club.

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  18. David Garrett (7,700 comments) says:

    Rex: Its not a rumour mate, we have agreed with each other on a number of occasions recently.

    Firstly, with regard to the quotes from my original post (about attacks on cops deserving 15 year minimum sentences, and minimum sentences having their place) my intention was simply to quote – or at least to paraphrase – what the Judge is quoted in the Stuff article as saying. The point I was trying to make was simply that the media chose to highlight the
    ” potential cancer” bit – about which you and I agree – while just ignoring the things Hyman said that arguably endorse what we have done here.

    As to “blowing our one chance…” you have mentioned this before. So I will respond as I have before: 3 S was never intended – or claimed – to be the panacea for all our crime problems. It was a policy that ACT had campaigned on for at least three elections (notwithstanding the flattering but erroneous claims that it was all my idea) and was a policy that in our view (no doubt you will disagree) had been demonstrably effective in other places, and was easy to campaign on.

    Had I not left parliament abruptly, I would have undertaken a planned visit to New York to talk to legislators, police and criminolgists about “zero tolerance” with a view to formulating a New Zealand version of the same, much as SST and I did after the visit to Calif. in 2007. That study trip never happened. I have no idea what – if any – law and order policy ACT will adopt for the forthcoming election.

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  19. Christopher Thomson (377 comments) says:

    Unless I am mistaken that cop has been found Not Guilty on all charges. And was so several days before this post. Get up to speed Rex.

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  20. scrubone (3,097 comments) says:

    It’s my observation that outfits like Sensible Sentencing and say, Prision Fellowship are not so much in opposition but looking at different ends of the problem so no surprises to find people agreeing on law and order policy.

    Pretty much sensible person agrees that there are people who have no interest in living in society and that we are better off financially keeping these separated (i.e. in jail) even though that might cost a significant amount.

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  21. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    @David Garrett:

    Had I not left parliament abruptly, I would have undertaken a planned visit to New York to talk to legislators, police and criminolgists about “zero tolerance” with a view to formulating a New Zealand version of the same

    And there are no plans to continue to try to have this implemented from outside the Parliament via the usual means (lobbying etc)? Not that I’m blaming you, you understand. Just that I think it’s disappointing that “zero tolerance” missed the boat and wish there was a way to revive it.

    I think it’s something that – as scrubone intelligently synthesises from our comments – that both those with “soft” and “hard” approaches to crime might be able to work on together.

    Yes, I appreciate “3 strikes” was seen as part of a greater whole, but one never knows when one is about to fall under a bus so one prioritises. And given that you had one chance this term I wish you’d used it on “zero tolerance”. But I accept that’s just my opinion, there’s no “right” choice.

    @Christopher Thomson:

    Ahh, but if it’s good enough for commenters here to constantly accuse judges of being soft and letting violent antisocial crims walk free, it’s good enough for me to claim it’s happened in the case of officer “Ball Buster” Folan, too.

    Interestingly, witnesses against Folan included police officers, who displayed exemplary courage in breaking the wall of silence and coming forward. Lying, were they?

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  22. David Garrett (7,700 comments) says:

    Rex, this is seriously getting worrying…let’s just say I share your great surprise at the result in the Folan case…but twelve good citizens and all that…

    Re the zero tolerance proposal, yes, SST is still very much in favour of it, and as you say, the evidence (except for the Greens and others who do not wish to see) is that it is – if anything – more effective that 3 S. As I said, if I had had anything to do with it, at least a pilot zero tolerance project in one of our police districts would have been the ACT law and order policy for 2011.

    The immediate major objection (I am talking about the rational ones) I see is COST. From my limited understanding of it, the program in New York involved an immediate increase in police on the street, which logically must have meant a substantial increase in the numbers of policemen(persons). That would not be cheap, and would have been a hard sell prior to the recent economic downturn and the Christchurch calamities. Even more difficult now.

    I agree with you that zero T is a policy which would probably have broad appeal across the “rational responses to crime” spectrum. If I recall correctly Kim Workman and I exchanged some correspondence before the downfall which indicated – I think – that SST and his organization had some common ground on the issue.

    If you wish to contact me privately on this issue, contact DPF for my e-mail address…not that it is a major secret…

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  23. Christopher Thomson (377 comments) says:

    I would suggest that the inference we are to draw is that they were lying. Cops lying in evidence – that would be a first.

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  24. David Garrett (7,700 comments) says:

    He’s got you there Rex….I dont think you think policemen always tell the truth do you? Perhaps Folan is a pretty unpopular guy with lots of enemies…

    Always helps to actually hear the evidence rather than read about it in the paper…

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  25. elscorcho (155 comments) says:

    I don’t understand our three strike rule at all.
    Are we after heavier sentences for serious offences? Then let’s increase sentences for THOSE offences
    Are we trying to ensure that people who refuse to obey the law are permanently incarcerated? Then let’s have three strikes for ALL offences.

    What we have now is a horrible mixture. I don’t think the philosophy is clear at all; if we want murderers and rapists in for longer, raise their sentences across the board. If we want to stop repeat offenders, three strike them all.

    Our legal system is flawed in that I can get drunk and in a fit of drunken bravado outside a club, punch a guy – hits head on concrete, dies, manslaughter, 3-5 years inside – yet apart from that be entirely law abiding. Yet recidivist burglars can get 100s of convictions and seldom spend any time inside.

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  26. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    I might tend to believe the police ganged up on one of their own if the accusations of brutality weren’t:

    a. Across a number of separate incidents, and

    b. Backed up by non-police witnesses.

    Plus the conspiracy theory was never, AFAIK, advanced in his defence during the trial. And it’d have to be one mightily well-organised conspiracy to have held together thus far.

    The idea that for every half a dozen honest police there’s one short-tempered thug pretty much fits with my personal experience too, so given all of the above I have an uneasy feeling about it.

    Still, I support the legal system having unfettered freedom to arrive at decisions even if I happen to think those decisions are both highly suspect and fly in the face of the facts. Having said that, I’d like to read the trial transcripts.

    @elscorcho

    I agree with all that you say, especially the anomaly that:

    recidivist burglars can get 100s of convictions and seldom spend any time inside

    which is why people with as differeng perspectives as David Garrett and I support a “broken windows / zero tolerance” approach to that sort of crime.

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  27. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    David Garrett:

    The immediate major objection (I am talking about the rational ones) I see is COST. From my limited understanding of it, the program in New York involved an immediate increase in police on the street, which logically must have meant a substantial increase in the numbers of policemen(persons).

    I agree, though I’ve seen research on the NY policy that showed measurable financial benefits to the community (albeit not to the administration) through less property damage, theft, robbery etc. Added to the social benefits it shouldn’t be that hard to sell.

    I also can’t help thinking we’d have a lot more police presence at no additional cost if we dispersed all the “policy analysts” and “line managers” out of head office into the stations to handle all the paperwork, freeing up uniformed officers to do the job they’re meant to do; and immediately mothballed the roadside cash registers, using those staff on proper policing also.

    Even so, I accept there’d be an upfront cost. But this government is very brave about telling us we’ll just have to suck it up and accept upfront costs when it’s to help their business mates who are evidently “too big to fail”. Surely a decent society is also too big to fail.

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  28. nasska (12,101 comments) says:

    elsorcho @ 6.25pm

    Keep reading David & Rex’s correspondence & within weeks you’ll be a world expert on the subject. So far the only thing that hasn’t been debated is the type of paper the statute is written on.

    …” Are we after heavier sentences for serious offences?”…. the (sort of) agreement on this forum is that whatever range of sentences the judges were given by parliament , for whatever crime, they usually used the low one. To compound this many of the defendants were repeat offenders & the public took issue with ‘revolving door’ sentences Rex tends to the view that this is mostly public perception but politicians are paid to listen to the electorate & very occasionally they do.

    The legislation effectively forces the judiciary to give mandatory sentences for crimes of violence & a few other crimes that are often precursors of violent offending. There was little political or public will to impose absolute sentences for lesser crimes. Much of it boils down to the electorate’s perception of the degree of safety enjoyed by they & their families.

    In the case of a pub brawl the manslaughter charge reflects the lack of premeditation & if it’s your first offense the judge has a range of sentences stretching from a discharge to life. If you make a habit of it you’ll be in pokey with the burglar who is also subject to three strikes.

    In any case, as I mentioned before, follow Rex & Dave – it’s actually informative & entertainment to boot.

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  29. David Garrett (7,700 comments) says:

    Nasska: Only one thing wrong in that post of yours…the strike offences are ALL violent; there are NO “other crimes” included in the regime. Burglars can never fall fould of the 3S law. That was a deliberate decision from the outset.

    That said, if the Select Committee system worked as we all imagine it is supposed to, P manufacture would have been added as a strike offence at that stage. There was huge support for that among the many hundreds of submissions in favour of the law.

    Rex: We may as well just get married! I agree completely – if the cash register operators behind the radar guns were deployed instead to real policing, we would have – what – 20% more sworn personnel available? Broad ALMOST agreed that that would be a good idea in SC once… before putting out a press release the next day “correcting” himself. Be interesting to see what the new Commissioner will see as the priorties.

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  30. publicwatchdog (3,148 comments) says:

    How come the ‘three strikes and out’ legislation only applies to violent crime?

    What’s the difference between a pensioner who has lost his/her life’s savings through ‘white collar’ crime, and is so stressed that they die of a heart attack, and a pensioner who dies after being bashed with a softball bat?

    What legislative steps did you take David (Garrett) to help sort out ‘white collar’ crime?

    err…. about 60 collapsed finance companies isn’t it?

    What’s happened / happening to all those crooks who have devastated the lives of so many people?

    Oh sorry – I forgot.

    White collar criminals in NZ get KNIGHTHOODS don’t they?

    Penny Bright
    http://waterpressure.wordpress.com

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  31. CharlieBrown (1,054 comments) says:

    The three strikes law should have never have been needed. Instead law makers should have grown some goulies and start bringing in life and consecutive sentences. Seeing the worst types of criminals get sent to prison “for the remainder of their life” makes far more sense than having a 3 strikes law. Seeing repeat offenders get out of prison, with everyone knowing full well they are likely to offend again, after they have already committed numerous crimes (violent or theft) makes my blood boil. Someone that has broken into and burgled 15 houses deserves to be in prison for a long time.

    Why didn’t we just increase sentences? That way we can release them on parole, with electronic monitoring, early if need be, but they remain on parole for the rest of their sentence. It means we can throw them back in prison where they serve out the rest of their sentence if they break the law again.

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  32. James (1,299 comments) says:

    David….is incest still a strike offence? if so why? Aside from its icky factor, if done between consenting adults just what business is it of the law? And P dealers are just supplying a wanted product…..as we all know the real problem with P is that its illegal which cause the associated real problems with it.

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  33. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    CharlieBrown:

    law makers should have grown some goulies and start bringing in life and consecutive sentences

    No, lawmakers should stay out of dictating what sentences are handed out. They don’t sit on the bench and hear each individual case, with all its aggravating and mitigating factors. And anyway, life and consecutive sentences are theoretically possible now, it’s simply that if Person A gets 2 x 5 years concurrently for robbery and Person B gets 2 x 5 years consecutively, Person B’s lawyers can argue “parity”.

    The answer is to – somehow – engage the judiciary with the public, but at the same time avoid capture by either the “hand wringing” or the “hanging” brigades. The judiciary avoids mingling with us mere mortals for this very reason (after all, if you were a judge would you want to find yourself trapped in the kitchen at a party with Garth McVicar or Kim Workman? ;-)

    But some sort of mechanism needs to be explored to enable the judiciary to hear from the public, and explain things to them. And it’d help if Simon Power STFU when the Chief Justice does speak out, and leave it to the public (his Masters) to respond.

    That way we can release them on parole, with electronic monitoring, early if need be, but they remain on parole for the rest of their sentence. It means we can throw them back in prison where they serve out the rest of their sentence if they break the law again.

    You’re kind of onto it here. But the trouble with parole is, we take someone who’s institutionalised, chuck them into the community, and say “don’t screw up”. There’s no transition and no support. If a prisoner could earn gradually improving conditions… a shift to an “open” prison, then day release, then overnight release etc… eventually being given complete but conditional release (parole) they’d adjust better and fewer would fail. And then, as you say, we yank back those who do beause clearly they don’t want to be part of society any more.

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  34. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    publicwatchdog asks:

    What’s the difference between a pensioner who has lost his/her life’s savings through ‘white collar’ crime, and is so stressed that they die of a heart attack, and a pensioner who dies after being bashed with a softball bat?

    Many things. Intent, for one… the fraudster intended no physical harm to his victim. The thug who does deserves to be punished more harshly because we as a society value human beings more than we value money. And god forbid that ever changes, though sentencing is increasingly seeing things the other way. I cannot think of any non-violent crime deserving of a longer sentence than a seriously violent one, yet I see the courts creeping toward that sort of disparity every day.

    Another is the responsibility of the victim for his fate. While it’s not always true, some of the people who are stripped of their wealth risked it on some ponzi-like scheme out of sheer greed. The pensioner was probably counting his loose change to see if he could afford a tin of cat food for dinner.

    Yes the criminal deserves to be punished in both cases, but when the “victim” created the circumstances that led to their victimisation, and is still hale and hearty – if out of pocket – afterwards, they take that into account too. Quite properly, IMHO.

    Having said that, yes, there are far too many crooks who receive knighthoods. Or Ministerial warrants.

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  35. CharlieBrown (1,054 comments) says:

    “No, lawmakers should stay out of dictating what sentences are handed out. They don’t sit on the bench and hear each individual case, with all its aggravating and mitigating factors. And anyway, life and consecutive sentences are theoretically possible now, it’s simply that if Person A gets 2 x 5 years concurrently for robbery and Person B gets 2 x 5 years consecutively, Person B’s lawyers can argue “parity”.”

    I didn’t say that judges should lose their discretion, but the general problem is the sentences currently aren’t severe enough for theft and violent crimes. Isn’t it rediculouse that someone that makes p is liable for a life sentence whereas someone who rapes a couple of people will be out in 10 years? Justice needs to be more about punnishment and prevention, and less about rehabilitation. Someone who says they are remorsefull and rehabilitated then goes to the parole board to get out half way through their sentence are contradicting themselves… to me, a genuine sign of remorse is to be humble and accept your sentence and serve out an amount of time that reflects the severity of the crime.

    “You’re kind of onto it here. But the trouble with parole is, we take someone who’s institutionalised, chuck them into the community, and say “don’t screw up”. There’s no transition and no support.”

    Yip, if need be make prisons better. But I think there is already a transitionary part to it, low security prisons already are not much different to staying in a hostel. I think it is alot of low security prisoners that end up re-offending.

    I don’t know if we need to “engage the judiciary”. They seem to struggle to engage with themselves, how many times have we seen judges suttlely criticize each other when sentences are appealed?

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  36. magic bullet (776 comments) says:

    The frustrating thing about this law is that it has such painfully predictable outcomes. People don’t really gain their full ability to assess short-term risk against long-term consequences until they are 25ish. Clinical fact – you may stop your internal dialogue …. now. That means that you’re going to get thousands of kids who have had a very bad experience with authority figures, acting out against them, in ways that go against their own long-term interests. Because of this, it will not have a dissuasive impact for many youth between 18-25. So this law will create a new class of citizen. The person who never experienced the loving and caring side of humanity, and will probably never get the chance to. A kind of condemned soul who will never really trust anyone, because their only experience with trust is that it is betrayed. It might take a while for them to see that not people are out to use and abuse them, but by then, with three strikes it may well be too late for them. The tax payer will be footing $100,000 per year to keep these people inside, and for what? So everyone else can feel safe from the consequences of social-dysfunction in an economy that marginalises so many, segregating them in low-rent communities of deprivation, insecurity and distress.

    I think that this law is symptomatic of a head-in-sand approach to the ugly side of capitalism’s success story. Out of sight, out of mind. Let’s go shopping hun! Who needs to understand the crucial issues in NZ’s deprived communities. I work hard, and now i’m going to spend my weekend in consumerist nirvana. mmmmm beer and sky. Ummm – sorry, but how about instead of doing that this weekend, go and volunteer to take some kids from a deprived neighbourhood near you to do something they’ve never done before, like going to see a movie, or ten-pin bowling. That way they can see that not all adults are bad, and you can maybe gain an insight into how and why so many people end up on the scrap-heap of society. It’s a win-win scenario!

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  37. Gwilly (158 comments) says:

    Two strikes for serious offences and broaden the scope of offences covered by 3 strikes.

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  38. magic bullet (776 comments) says:

    Rex –

    “And for police who misuse the considerable power granted them to assault the very citizens they are sworn to protect? Like crushing a testicle?”

    If someone did that to me i would be keen on some quid pro quo. Cop or no cop. 15 year sentence or none. I suspect thousands of other kiwi males would put themselves in the same territory.

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  39. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    magic bullet:

    ow about instead of doing that this weekend, go and volunteer to take some kids from a deprived neighbourhood near you to do something they’ve never done before, like going to see a movie, or ten-pin bowling

    Excellent idea. And how about, instead of fining someone for exceeding the speed limit or peeing in public they’re expected to undertake this kind of thing for the next few weekends, co-ordinated by some sort of “Big Brother / Big Sister” organisation? Everyone benefits and, who knows, the selfish ass may actually find the experience more rewarding than indulging in his own hedonism and keep doing it after the “sentence” is ended.

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  40. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    CharlieBrown suggests:

    Justice needs to be more about punnishment and prevention, and less about rehabilitation.

    The very definition of successful rehabilitation is that the criminal no longer offends. Rehabilitation isn’t some vague “feel good” process to help a criminal get in touch with their feelings, it’s to protect society.

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  41. CharlieBrown (1,054 comments) says:

    “The very definition of successful rehabilitation is that the criminal no longer offends. Rehabilitation isn’t some vague “feel good” process to help a criminal get in touch with their feelings, it’s to protect society.”

    That still doesn’t change my point, more focus needs to be put into punnishment and prevention… punnishment being that society takes away a persons freedom in retribution for that persons crime, prevention being that the person who committed those crimes is taken out of society so they cannot commit the crime again.

    The moment the criminal takes away someone elses freedom by either steeling, raping, beating or murdering, their rights should come secondary to protecting society. That is why rehabilitation should not come before punnishment and prevention like it currently does.

    Also, if rehabilitation is so important, then why are we releasing so many criminals that clearly aren’t rehabilitated?

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