An excellent candidate for three strikes

February 2nd, 2012 at 12:51 pm by David Farrar

Meet Steven Karu.

On July 4 last year, Karu was riding a bus when he performed an indecent act, the Palmerston North District Court heard yesterday.

A 13-year-old girl on the bus saw what was happening and texted her parents, asking what to do. They told her to take a picture to show to the police and to get off at the next stop. She did. Trouble was, Karu got off too. …

On October 13 last year, Karu was jailed for one year on an indecency charge but while in Manawatu Prison awaiting sentence, he sent the girl a threatening letter dated August 22. …

“And on the back ‘original hoodlum pay back’.” There was also a picture of a gang gesture and the phrase “Highbury gonna get you”. The letter to the girl contained threats against her and her family.

In it, Karu described himself as “Highbury’s worst criminal”.

He also commented that he was due to be released when the girl would be aged 16, the legal age of consent for sexual intercourse.

His letter said:

“Delete the photo or else. “I don’t want you, me, and your mum and dad to have a problem. “I didn’t mean for this to happen, I’m sorry. “If my mum dies when I’m in here, so does yours and your dad.”

Sounds a lovely chap. But this is the part that staggered me:

Judge Lynch noted Karu’s long history of offending, dating back to 1989, which included more than 180 convictions.

I might be wrong, but I imagine more than a couple of those offences would be serious enough to qualify for a strike under the law.

Karu sounds like exactly the sort of offender who should no longer get the benefit of parole and shortened sentences. I think at 180 convictions we can all agree he is not going to stop offending.

 

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74 Responses to “An excellent candidate for three strikes”

  1. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    Opposition just after an election: He’s misunderstood and needs rehabilitation.
    Opposition just before and election: This is the kind of scum we need to lock up and throw away the key.

    Problem: Justice policies should not be political footballs.

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  2. lastmanstanding (1,300 comments) says:

    Karu and the others of his ilk should be terminated with extreme predjudice.

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  3. B A W (100 comments) says:

    180 convictions how much of his life has he spent out of prison versus in prison?

    I quite agree he appears to be a serious offender and thus is an ideal candidate for three strikes. Well everyone would like rehabilitation to work. Sadly in this case it has not. While prison is expensive I guess we will have to re rehabilitation him by holding him until he grows out of it (how many 60 year olds are in prison?).

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  4. Yvette (2,845 comments) says:

    On a charge of perverting the course of justice, for writing the threatening letter from prison, Steven Karu, 42, was sentenced to one year in prison – on top of the time he is serving for the indecent act.

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  5. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Rehab is rubbish – might as well stand around and sing Kumbaya for all the effect it has on real criminals. He’ll be out influencing others who will end up in jail and all the bleeding hearts will talk about how the naughty National government locks up too many people.

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  6. RRM (10,009 comments) says:

    Why are we putting these scum up in Jail all day, again…?
    I understand there’s a lot of rocks that need moving in the Manawatu Gorge at the moment.

    “Work faster, criminal!”
    [Taser]
    [Taser] [Taser]
    [Taser]
    “I said WORK FASTER, CRIMINAL!”
    [Taser]

    (Am I a bad person? :-) )

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  7. tvb (4,501 comments) says:

    The three strikes legislation applies from the date it came into force. It does not apply to hIstoric convictions. It will take some years for it to have much effect.

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  8. Griff (8,168 comments) says:

    Wire the Taser to his balls.Sensor on the business end. Every time the wanker cracks one zzzzaaaapppp

    Rehab aversion therapy Griff style

    more scum
    http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/news/by-sam-boyer-news-bayofplentytimes-co/1258402/

    “Scumbags” ruin community gem’s funeral
    Waihi men Horace Hone Rolleston, 17, and Nicholas Te Aroha Porau, 40, appeared in Hamilton District Court yesterday, respectively charged with burglary and receiving stolen goods.

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  9. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    He would have been an excellent candidate more than 177 convictions ago. What was the judge thinking a few years ago when he saw “No. previous convictions: 140″?

    He needs to be kept in until he is no longer a threat to others – which I guess would be forever. We all know that as soon as he’s out he’ll offend again.

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  10. Nostalgia-NZ (5,276 comments) says:

    burt 12.55

    You got it right. The tweeking and tuning costs an enormous amount for little benefit but scores high on the emotion roller-coaster. We spend too much in the area, and there’s too much emotional involvement through blogs such as this – it’s not a problem that can be solved by spending unlimited money for no tangible benefit. From this brief account it hardly differs from the everyday behaviour of the now deceased ‘blanket’ man, apart from the point that this person wrote a letter showing what a nut he is.

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  11. Lance (2,708 comments) says:

    So who else thinks this POS is on the road to murder?

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  12. Keeping Stock (10,414 comments) says:

    I’ve just blogged about another case today; Olinale Ah You, who was sentenced to life with a minimum of 18.5 years without parole for murdering a grandmother whilst committing a home invasion in 2008. To make matters worse, he committed another home invasion just weeks after the fatal one.

    David Garrett may have has a brief and turbulent time as an MP, but in Three Strikes he left a legacy which will be much greater and more important than many MP’s will achieve spending much longer in Parliament.

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  13. kowtow (8,755 comments) says:

    Prison does work.But only if convicts are kept in gaol.

    At the moment it’s not being allowed to work by the “justice” system.

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  14. Griff (8,168 comments) says:

    zzzaaappp is good for a laugh

    however

    Nothing that I have read about the gentleman in question implies that he is any thing more than an obnoxious defect
    that proberbly should be under some sort of mental health care .
    That he jerks off in public is a pretty sad indictment of his mental state
    Is there any way of providing the long term care he obviously needs rather than another prison sentence which we know will not deter further deviant behavior.

    http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/news/by-sam-boyer-news-bayofplentytimes-co/1258402/
    Here we have an adult teaching youngsters Crime
    A crime that would be horrifying to these victims. That three young person and one adult were involved To me should insure that the elder perp gets maximum sentence as he is directly culpable for fostering the distortion of world view in these youths encouraging the alienation that drives many crimes.

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  15. Nostalgia-NZ (5,276 comments) says:

    Keeping Stock

    I know of one paper that showed only a low number of prisoners had heard of 3 strikes, and a lesser number knew how it worked. #Object .000936 – know your target and ensure they’re informed and understand your method – otherwise whistle in the wind. Then of course we have the law change following Weatherston unsuccessfully trying to use a defence that a Jury rejected.

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  16. mara (794 comments) says:

    So this deviant, recidivist criminal time bomb will be free to reoffend in a couple of years. Somebody should he hired to shoot him and do us all a favour. Wishful thinking.

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  17. Mr Nobody NZ (391 comments) says:

    The biggest issue with the three strike bill is that it wasn’t retrospective.

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  18. secondcumming (93 comments) says:

    The other BIG worry is that this degenerate feral maori has been allowed to breed – and they’re all out there somewhere…

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  19. hmmokrightitis (1,595 comments) says:

    Mate of mine is a cop, advised us a few years back when my FiL died to leave a couple of big burly boys at the house during the funeral – it was reasonably common at the time for scum to cruise the death notices and take the opportunity. One of my nephews said he would do the duty, big strong lad that he is.

    We got back from the funeral to find him sitting on one perp, with another unconcious in the hallway. Suffice to say, the family were a tad miffed.

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  20. MarkWylie (11 comments) says:

    I’m sure I remember being told by someone who would know, that you could pay a sum of money to have people like this guy “reminded” not to go near the family.

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  21. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    I might be wrong, but I imagine more than a couple of those offences would be serious enough to qualify for a strike under the three strikes law.

    Maybe, maybe not.  There are a lot of people who qualify as ‘nuisance’ offenders who pick up convictions all the time without actually being dangerous in any way.  And it is unlikely that he picked up 180 convictions one at a time (I know of one person who picked up 126 convictions [for fraud] in one hit [and it was not a businessman!]).  

    Sounds like a right prat, however, and given the threats I would suspect you are right on this one.

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  22. Griff (8,168 comments) says:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/crime/news/article.cfm?c_id=30&objectid=10782945
    Stuart Maru Harris, 28, guilty of kidnapping, sexual violation and indecent assault.

    anyone notice its a certain CULTURE all these feral s have in common

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  23. Lance (2,708 comments) says:

    Methinks secondcumming’s statement is so outrageous and polarizing it might be an undercover lefty trap.
    Please say something with an ounce of intelligence

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  24. Northland Wahine (667 comments) says:

    Castrate the low life. Be it for sexual deviance, sexual violence, violence, past or threatening in the future or hell! Surely something exists under the mental health?

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  25. laworder (292 comments) says:

    Unfortunately Northland Wahine something USED to exist under the Mental Health legislation that no longer does so, probably because it would have been in contravention of the BORA (Bill of Rights Act)

    A number of people have already commented correctly that this offender will not be treatable and is unable to be rehabilitated.
    The evidence overwhelmingly bears this out;
    Sex Predators Can’t Be Saved
    http://www.vachss.com/av_dispatches/disp_9301_a.html

    Intelligence, Memory, and Handedness in Pedophilia
    http://www.tvo.org/theagenda/resources/pdf/2004-Pedo%20IQ%20
    memory%20handedness.pdf

    Handedness, criminality, and sexual offending
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028393200001342

    I have more for those that want them… lots and lots more, and I havent checked for the latest research finding in quite a while either

    Mr Nobody NZ is right when he says “The biggest issue with the three strike bill is that it wasn’t retrospective” This was a shame, would have made it far more effective far faster and almost certainly saved some lives

    Regards
    Peter J
    Webmaster for http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  26. Nostalgia-NZ (5,276 comments) says:

    Unfortunately he’d already proven that he was a wanker before he confirmed it by sending the correspondence and presumably signing it. But doesn’t it go back to the ‘blanket man’ debate – the mentally unwell walking about inside their own psychiatric institution.

    Incidentally, the breaking news above the link that Griff posted was that the man who stepped out from his car on the Auckland waterfront, which resulted in a cyclist going under a truck, was discharged, probably pointing out the obvious that he didn’t see her as he told the police in his interview. Terrible accident.

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  27. David Garrett (7,533 comments) says:

    tvb: Actually you are quite wrong. The 3S law has a positive effect every time is it applied – certainly with regard to second strikers (two of them so far, one in the wings). Every convicted strike offender is one conviction closer to long term incarceration, and from second strike onwards, it has a very real effect on the sentence, given that the full sentence must be served on second strike. This is completely ignoring specific or general deterrence which is near impossible to measure accurately.

    Nostalgia – NZ: Whose paper says there is low criminal awareness of 3S and how it works? A reference please, so I can rebut it. We are already seeing the kind of bullshit obfuscation to “explain” the drop of crime for other reasons than 3S – ANY other reason will do – as occurred in California after the precipitate drop in crime since 3S was introduced in that state.

    I had an e-mail exchange with Chester “all criminals need is love and understanding” Borrows the other day. In a nutshell, his line was that the decline we have already experienced – both in offending and prisoner numbers – is “the continuation of a trend that was underway several years before 2008.” Chester clearly didnt read National’s election propaganda – and crime stats – prior to the 2008 election, both of which showed a 40% odd increase in violent offending in the last five years of the Clark government. Now, a decline in crime was already underway – nothing to do with a change of policy direction. Yeah right.

    I will repeat what I have said a dozen times: 3S is not the whole answer to serious criminal offending, and it never was sold as such. But every 3S offender who is locked up makes our community that much safer. And I repeat my offer of $1000 – no, make it 10,000 – to anyone who can EVER show just one example of someone locked up under the 3S legislation for some minor property crime. My meagre bank balance is entirely safe as it simply cannot happen.

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  28. Nostalgia-NZ (5,276 comments) says:

    laworder 3.33

    So now the reason these offences continue is because the legislation wasn’t retrospective. The old cake and eat it too? I doubt Karu had even heard of it like most of his fellows, or even understood it. But we all know the climbing costs to the taxpayer.

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  29. scanner (340 comments) says:

    Again we start to see the emergence of a common denominator here, is it just me or can others see the trend where all these white offenders have given themselves Maori names, must be some sort of a bonding thing.

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  30. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Garrett will only ever be a hypocrite in the eyes of many. Remember what his neighbours had to say about how he treated his wife..One rule for others , another set of rules for Garrett.

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  31. Nostalgia-NZ (5,276 comments) says:

    David Garrett.

    Kim Workman, pre-election probably October 2010. The figures among the target group who knew or understood 3S were dismal. And if you think personally attacking Workman, an ex Department employee underates his claims, I’d like to see current relevant NZ figures.

    I think Chester is right, and his position acknowledges international trends and also recognises that trends don’t encompass a few short years.

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  32. Pete George (23,682 comments) says:

    joana, that’s totally uncalled for here and not relevant to the topic.

    Changes in trends of things like violent offending can be very complex and difficult to determine what the causes are and how much each may have affected it. It’s not just rates of offending, it’s reporting rates and conviction rates etc etc.

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  33. Manolo (14,044 comments) says:

    Three strikes but with a bullet sounds more reasonable. :D

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  34. joe bloggs (126 comments) says:

    Ditto Manolo – and to hell with a 3-strikes taxpayer-funded vacation in Pare…

    This sounds more like the ideal candidate for Mr 460 Rowland 185gr JHP from CORBON

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  35. David Garrett (7,533 comments) says:

    .
    Nostalgia: Kim Workman…enough said. Mr Workman – as head of prisons 20 odd years ago – had his chance to test his theories. He was basically given permission and the resources to put his theories into practice. The result of his experiments included a jump in escapes by prisoners in his programme, a sharp rise in recidivisim among the “graduates’, and Workman losing his job. All of this is well documented. See for example Newbold: “A history of failed experiments”

    Mr Workman also predicted in 2008 that under 3S as passed in New Zealand, prisoner numbers would triple in 2 years (they have declined for the first time since the 1930’s) and there would be no effect on offending. As to that, check out the most recent Justice Dept Crime Stats.

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  36. Nookin (3,462 comments) says:

    @ FES 3.12

    I know a guy who racked up 75 offences in one day by nicking a chequebook or two and having a wonderful time.

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  37. Ryan Sproull (7,279 comments) says:

    David Garrett,

    What do you think can be done to improve rehabilitation? We’ve touched on this before, and I’ve found myself agreeing with you a lot. Keen to hear your thoughts.

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  38. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    Nookin,

    yeah, fraud/theft is an easy way to get a big list fast!

    With regards the 3 strikes, it is a penal policy that I don’t really have any issues with, other than the inclusion of indecent assault as a strike offence (as it is too broad an offence, in my view). I do think that Chester Borrows is correct (National’s policy statement was deceptive and populist), offending rates have been dropping for 10 years and more now, here and in many places overseas. Locking people up for longer/more often hasn’t necessarily been the reason for that and it is not something that I would advocate.

    That said, I think that we don’t give enough attention to punishing offenders simply because they deserve punishing. Never mind rehabilitation and that area (which has its place), but sometimes punishment is what it should be about. This is where I see the 3 strikes policy coming in. It isn’t about rehab, but about saying that you deserve it because of what you have done.

    I don’t see a problem with that.

    Oh, and am I the only person to find Laworders’ final link (on non-right handedness and offending) somewhat offensive?

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  39. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    And I repeat my offer of $1000 – no, make it 10,000 – to anyone who can EVER show just one example of someone locked up under the 3S legislation for some minor property crime. My meagre bank balance is entirely safe as it simply cannot happen.

    Locked up in New Zealand, or locked up under some long-standing three strikes law?

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  40. PaulL (6,044 comments) says:

    Joana – was that a new variant of “have you stopped beating your wife yet?” Not even a particularly innovative one.

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  41. PaulL (6,044 comments) says:

    Graeme – my read of David Garrett’s post was clearly relating to NZ – he said the way the 3S legislation is crafted it cannot happen, I doubt he’s making that claim about legislation he wasn’t involved in.

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  42. nasska (11,788 comments) says:

    F E Smith

    By the time any criminal gets a custodial sentence he/she has probably already thumbed their noses at a few rehab opportunities. I accept you may see the punishment angle as important but again there’s sufficient reoffending to cast doubt on whether that makes a lot of difference in many cases.

    As a taxpayer citizen I see three strikes eventually removing serial violent & sex offenders off the street & into a place where they are unable to prey on the public for worthwhile periods of time. If they’re inside they’re not offending.

    Although I often agree with “laworder’s” comments the link to right/left handedness is unhelpful. If we go down the road of screening for the propensity for a person to commit a crime NZ will no longer be a place where I would want to live.

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  43. PaulL (6,044 comments) says:

    Are left handed people more inclined to commit crimes? I’m left handed, maybe I should watch myself more closely?

    Or maybe (back in the good old days) strict parents forced left handers to be right handed, and hippy parents let them be left handed. And then what we really have is a correlation between hippy parents and crime. Which of course suits my pre-existing prejudices, so I’ll just believe that instead.

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  44. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    Graeme – my read of David Garrett’s post was clearly relating to NZ – he said the way the 3S legislation is crafted it cannot happen, I doubt he’s making that claim about legislation he wasn’t involved in.

    In all likelihood. I have heard David make similar (perhaps not identical) claims about non-NZ 3S laws, however, so wanted to check. Was looking forward to claiming $10,000 e.g, this US Supreme Court case:

    Petitioner, who previously on two separate occasions had been convicted in Texas state courts and sentenced to prison for felonies (fraudulent use of a credit card to obtain $80 worth of goods or services, and passing a forged check in the amount of $28.36), was convicted of a third felony, obtaining $120.75 by false pretenses, and received a mandatory life sentence pursuant to Texas’ recidivist statute. After the Texas appellate courts had rejected his direct appeal as well as his subsequent collateral attacks on his imprisonment, petitioner sought a writ of habeas corpus in Federal District Court, claiming that his life sentence was so disproportionate to the crimes he had committed as to constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The District Court rejected this claim, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, attaching particular importance to the probability that petitioner would be eligible for parole within 12 years of his initial confinement.

    Held:

    The mandatory life sentence imposed upon petitioner does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Pp. 268-285.

    As for New Zealand, it might still happen, but will take a while. Some aggravated burglaries can be pretty minor.

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  45. David Garrett (7,533 comments) says:

    Graeme E: It must have been a long day in chambers old son….I am of course referring to the New Zealand version of 3S….but the misinformation – I’m afraid I can only conclude it is deliberate – continues. See for example the article “The law isnt a machine” in the latest Listener….either the writer is entirely ignorant of the effect of New Zealand 3S or he is being deliberately misleading….As for the obscure yank he quotes liberally, I am used to them and have come to expect such comments as his…

    For example the prison chaplain the Howard League toured around the country in 2009 when the law was being passed…. he claimed that crime had been declining in California since 1986 and thus the decline in the 90’s had absolutely nothing to do with more punitive penal policy…the reality was violent crime peaked in 1992, the year 3S was introduced…

    The Rev. Ron Givens refused all my staff’s efforts to debate him in public…then returned to California and said on National Radio that it was I avoiding HIM! He also referred to me as the leader of ACT, so I guess you have to laugh…

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  46. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    nasska,

    By the time any criminal gets a custodial sentence he/she has probably already thumbed their noses at a few rehab opportunities.

    Actually, that pretty much has it the wrong way around, although I can understand why you might make the point you did.  For many, the opportunity of rehab doesn’t come until after they are imprisoned for the first (or subsequent) time.  I had one client who had been an alcoholic for 14 years, but had served several terms of community work and a couple of imprisonment before I convinced a judge that another term of imprisonment wasn’t the answer and got him into rehab.

    The thing is, that in the justice system the main penalties are the fine and community work.  And there is nothing wrong with that, but the chance for rehab is limited with both.  So for many, going to prison is the first time they will have been given access to the help they need.

    Now, that does not excuse them for not going out and arranging rehab themselves.  Some do that, but for most they are so caught up in whatever is causing/contributing to the offending that they just don’t see the need for help until after the offence has been committed.  This is especially true of alcoholics.

    From what I have seen, turning down rehab isn’t common.  Being unable/unwilling to comply does happen, but the reasons are varied and the fault doesn’t always (usually, but not always) solely with the offender. However, I have long said that if we had more effective treatment programmes, we would have a lot less offending (I say effective, because some of the programmes are a joke).

    As a taxpayer citizen I see three strikes eventually removing serial violent & sex offenders off the street & into a place where they are unable to prey on the public for worthwhile periods of time. If they’re inside they’re not offending.

    Accepted, although as I said, I see that as being a punishment factor rather than a public safety factor, but the effect is the same.

    If we go down the road of screening for the propensity for a person to commit a crime NZ will no longer be a place where I would want to live.

    Exactly.  I just worry that there are calls for this on a semi-regular basis (although not necessarily connected with which hand you write with!).

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  47. David Garrett (7,533 comments) says:

    Graeme: You will never have heard me claim there were (and are) NO injustices in American 3S laws…..I am on record as saying I was very impressed by my visit to lobby group FACTS in California in 2007 where I went to learn how to draft a law under which such injustices could not occur.

    I still say the story of some felon getting life imprisonment in the US for stealing a chocolate (“candy” in the US) bar is apocryphal….although I am not confident enough of that to wager even $100….

    As for your example, if your hypothetical aggravated burglar keeps burgling while armed with a weapon – even AFTER receiving a second strike final warning – what do you suggest we do with him?

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  48. wreck1080 (3,956 comments) says:

    The problem is our justice system.

    He should have been thrown into prison for a lengthy time at conviction # 4.

    Way …. too … soft. He probably believes he has a human right to commit criminal acts.

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  49. Nostalgia-NZ (5,276 comments) says:

    David Garrett 5.31

    Are you saying that violent crime in NZ will have peaked in 2009?
    Earlier you dismissed Workman’s figures, do you have figures showing that potential offenders or offenders (in the majority) since 2009 are both aware and understand 3S. Are there co-relating figures of the same type in Caliafornia in 1992. You’d agree the target ‘audience’ are those that must be deterred from offending by understanding the risks under 3S?
    As to your question of Graeme about the second striker (having completed their sentence without parole) that case in the SI recently showed the police or Justice system had no control over the rapist who had completed his sentence in full before moving next door to his victim at some point, so that seems a shortfall. Also (and I never quite sure about this) but women’s groups have advocated that long sentences might increase the danger at the time of the crime, that the offender has nothing to lose and could be more inclined to kill the victim. Putting that situation in context with a second striker, do you a the potential problem there? Lastly, and on the figures was is the potential age of a 2nd striker completing a second sentence and how does that compare with the anectodal evidence that offenders generally pull their heads in around the middle age mark? No need to bother if that’s too many questions to answer, not being properly informed I’m just trying get a clearer picture.

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  50. David Garrett (7,533 comments) says:

    FES and others: I havent read Peter J’s link, but can make an educated guess as to what it contains…but think about this: psycopathy (defined in laymans terms as having no conscience, and no empathy for or even understanding of the needs and feelings of others) is presently incurable, and given the current state of medical knowledge, likely to remain so… informed estimates claim that up to 5% of the population are psychopaths, although only a very small percentage of them will become violent criminals (but that small percentage will become very very dangerous men, like Graeme Burton).

    lets say detection of psycopathy in children (teachers say they can identify them by age 6) becomes completely reliable…. someone else can do the maths, but that means that some tiny percentage of kids WILL become recidivist rapists and killers…what do we do with that knowledge? Pretend we dont have it? Monitor those kids throughout their lives – and if so on what basis? These are questions we will inevitably have to face….

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  51. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

     David,

    claim that up to 5% of the population are psychopaths, although only a very small percentage of them will become violent criminals

     There is your answer.  I firmly object to the idea of profiling in the manner laworders’s link would appear to suggest- that being left-handed should be taken as a potential indicator of criminal tendencies (ok, that may not be as nuanced as they put it, but it is what they are saying).

    So, no, I don’t think that we should monitor those kids if postively identified with psychopathy as per your example. 

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  52. David Garrett (7,533 comments) says:

    Nostalgia: I suspect you are not in fact “just trying to get a clearer picture” but I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

    NO, I am not saying crime will have peaked in 2009; we will have to wait and see. My point was that people like Workman will spin figures any way they can – and I’m afraid, outright make things up – to “prove” their argument.

    I have not seen this “paper” by Workman that is quoted which supposedly demonstrates that most offenders knew nothing about 3S, and fewer still knew how it worked. If anyone can tell me where to find this paper I would be keen to read it. I suspect though – based on past performance and my experience with Mr Workman – that there is no “paper” as such; it will be some article by Workman claiming that “based on conversations I have had with inmates…..”

    It would actually be a very useful study for some Masters student in Criminonology to find out in a statistically rigorous way: 1) How many inmates serving sentences for strike offences are aware of the three strikes law that awaits them on release; and 2) How many have a reasonable understanding of how it actually works.

    The only criminologist in NZ who would risk supervising a student doing such a study is Greg Newbold….he would be entirely unconcerned about what the result may be…Pratt and the others would be too scared the results might entirely contradict the line they indoctrinate their students with…

    To answer your last question, it is true that most offenders cease or largely cease their offending by middle age…but some dont….the oldest re-offending released rapist/murderer I am aware of was 83 when he committed his final offence…he had more self insight that the “experts” who had dealt with him saying ” I have always been a bad bastard sister”… Should we be letting all 50 year old rapists out because statistically they were unlikely to offend again?

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  53. tas (646 comments) says:

    Some posters seem to think the purpose of 3S is deterrence or to allow more time for rehabilitation. I always thought that the primary purpose was to prevent criminals reoffending by keeping them out of the community. So it isn’t particularly relevant whether or not criminals are aware of it. (Though deterrence is good too.)

    As to the cost of imprisonment: I think it’s definitely worth it. And why don’t we outsource it? After three strikes you get sent to an indonesian prison.

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  54. reid (16,632 comments) says:

    only a very small percentage of them will become violent criminals

    The rest of them normally become senior business managers since their lack of conscience and ruthless competitiveness lends itself to that level of the corporate pyramid.

    Personally for example I think both Fay and Richwhite are psychopaths, given what they did.

    Anyway, I wonder if the crime reduction solution lies not quite so much in the sentencing regimes which is all we ever talk about on this, but in the attitudinal change programs that we’re not currently implementing, either because there is no will to because the people directing rehab are bleeding hearts who just want to hug the poor victims or because there just aren’t any decent programs around.

    I note for example this guy made the comment in that letter to the girl, that if his mum died while he was inside, he would be blaming her for it. Sure this is a small point in terms of this guys total attitude set but to me its indicative of a fairly fundamental trait which lots of crims seem to have. The attitude of “it’s my right to do anything I want and if you stop me by catching me in the act and I get sent me away then that’s not my fault, it’s yours.” This attitude which like I said is not in itself a big deal, is hugely indicative of a personality trait which is fundamental to a person’s propensity to keep inflicting trauma on others. The fact most of us have empathy is why we don’t all do it.

    Attacking those kinds of attitudes with a ruthless well thought out take-no-prisoner approach from day one of every crims sentence would I think do a lot to stop these bastards and by ruthless etc I don’t mean a harsh and brutal approach I mean, the crim is not given a choice. He WILL confront this and other attitudes in himself and there is NO choice about it, this WILL happen. That’s what I mean.

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  55. David Garrett (7,533 comments) says:

    Tas: I personally have absolutely no philosophical problem with outsourcing our “penal services” to – say – China or Indonesia….but then I am just an ignorant redneck who somehow fooled the examiners into giving me an honours degree in law….

    I think its a bit like capital punishment: great idea in theory, but it aint going to happen in our lifetime…

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  56. Nostalgia-NZ (5,276 comments) says:

    David Garrett 6.34

    I can’t defend Workman on your accusations. The ‘paper’ was in fact reported in the media 2011 not 2010 as I earlier said. Whether it was accurate or not doesn’t put aside that it’s an important point that needs to be clarified and as you suggest Newbold might be the man. In terms of your comment that Workman ‘failed’ despite receiving a major budget and other help, I don’t think there’s ever been a time in NZ where ‘Justice’ hasn’t been on a knife edge by budget or politics.

    I’m not advocating letting out 50 year old rapists because they fall into a statistic catagory by age. In fact, I’m sure they remain in pool whose offending is not lessened by age – but I may be wrong. Generally I think the country gets a bad return for it’s money on crime and punishment and as the first poster said above ‘Justice Policies should not be Political Footballs.’

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  57. David Garrett (7,533 comments) says:

    Workman looks at this blog…come in Kim! Tell us where this information which supports your view that all (or most) crims have no knowledge of the changes in the law since 2008 can be found…

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  58. Nostalgia-NZ (5,276 comments) says:

    tas 6.38

    The point we are looking for is less crime. Offenders obviously get warnings under 3S because the ambition is to see less crime committed, not more offenders in prison because it’s too costly. David Garrett’s point about a study is very worthwhile, assumptions that every bus wanker is going to stop because someone calls out ‘you’ll get a strike’ kind of overlooks the obvious.

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  59. Nostalgia-NZ (5,276 comments) says:

    From a cricketing point of view I’m a bit worried about this new ‘Poncho and Lefty’ song.
    Southpaws can be pretty tricky though.

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  60. wat dabney (3,805 comments) says:

    The three strikes for violent offences doesn’t address low-lives like this who make other people’s lives a misery with their endless criminality. An additional policy is required.

    A month of gaol time should be incremented at each new conviction, so by the 7th offence he is serving an extra 6 months on top of the prescribed sentence, and so on.

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  61. David Garrett (7,533 comments) says:

    wat dabney: we had to start somewhere old boy…

    Workman must be communing with his tupuna on a marae somewhere….what’s the bet he comments on this thread when everyone else has moved on and cant be bothered engaging with him? That’s his usual modus operandi…

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  62. reid (16,632 comments) says:

    From a cricketing point of view I’m a bit worried about this new ‘Poncho and Lefty’ song.

    Well let’s just hope some US record label has copyrighted it so the people spreading or possessing it will soon be extradited to face a long period of “rehabilitation” in a US Federal Prison.

    I wonder if a large angry black man fucking one up the arse every day and night is on their official list of rehab programs yet? If not, perhaps soon it will be.

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  63. David Garrett (7,533 comments) says:

    That last post is probably a fairly good indication that this thread has done its dash….

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  64. laworder (292 comments) says:

    F E Smith wrote


    Oh, and am I the only person to find Laworders’ final link (on non-right handedness and offending) somewhat offensive?

    If you actually have a look at it its an abstract of a scientific paper which found a small but significant statistical link between handedness and certain types of offending. The significance of this is that handedness is a purely biological trait that is simple to track and originates in a small piece of genetic code, i.e. it is a marker that is useful if you are trying to ascertain if a trait that correlates with it (or not) is at least partly biological in origin

    Also,if you read on to the end there is this;
    “Finally, as a cautionary note, it is stressed that the effects are small and that NRH should not be used as a marker of criminality.” so nasska and others can stop worrying

    I do agree with David Garrett’s comments that in the long run some form of screening will become inevitable and willl pose many difficult ethical quandaries

    Regards
    Peter J
    Webmaster for http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  65. UrbanNeocolonialist (309 comments) says:

    Recidivists should be tortured (preferably in a non-physically damaging way), daily, over the period of their incarceration. This would massively enhance the deterrence of prison for the habitual criminal class for which prison has little to no chastening effect other than boredom.

    If the torture is unpleasant enough then sentence durations could be reduced, and that, along with the increased deterrence would lead to greatly reduced crime rates and prison sizes, saving huge amounts of money directly and indirectly.

    Additionally the torture could be internet streamed for any victims hungry for a bit of vengeance.

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  66. Brian Smaller (4,024 comments) says:

    I might be wrong, but I imagine more than a couple of those offences would be serious enough to qualify for a strike under the three strikes law.

    Karu sounds like exactly the sort of offender who should no longer get the benefit of parole and shortened sentences. I think at 180 convictions we can all agree he is not going to stop offending.

    Not according to Labour. He needs time out of prison to breed more Labour voters.

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  67. rg (214 comments) says:

    Well done to ACT for the 3 strikes law, David Farrar is becoming more and more an ACT supporter. Mind you with National as about right wing as a Labour Govt what other party is there to support other than ACT.

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  68. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    As for your example, if your hypothetical aggravated burglar keeps burgling while armed with a weapon – even AFTER receiving a second strike final warning – what do you suggest we do with him?

    You don’t need to either burgle, or have a weapon (which could be something like a crow bar), to commit aggravated burglary. You could simply be the guy who drives the car for someone else who commits an aggravated burglary.

    One of the major problems I have with three strikes is that it treats the third strike getaway driver for a burglar of an empty warehouse with a crowbar the same as the third strike guy who shoots someone with a gun, whose life is saved by excellent and surprising healthcare. Why do both of these people need to be sentenced to 14 years without parole?

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  69. Nookin (3,462 comments) says:

    Graeme

    As far as culpability is concerned, what is the difference – assuming the guy with the crow bar was willing to use it if someone was there and assuming that they thought there were goodies in the warehouse (why, otherwise, would they burgle it)?

    Isn’t it a bit like careless driving? Sometimes there is an acccident, sometimes someone is killed but the same dgree of carelessness exists regardless of the consequences (which are usually attirbuted to bad luck rather than any lack of culpability of the offender)?

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  70. Mick Mac (1,091 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull (4,688) Says:
    February 2nd, 2012 at 4:43 pm
    That’s a good question and I notice that no one has really answered it.

    Obviously with 3S one only gets two chances at it now (thank God or D Garrett his agent).
    It would require both a manpower and training/education increase methinks, plus a law change.
    1. it needs to be properly personelled with probation officers, social workers, psychotherapists to help the offender make the behavioural changes.
    2. most offenders will need to achieve the schooling they need to get vocational training and then vocational training.
    3. it maybe that to address the issue of the offenders hanging around with the same people that effected their law breaking in the first instance.
    That there needs to be a law change that effectively makes it illegal for them to associate with convicted people for the period of rehab/parole.
    4. in all case all offenders should have a behaviour bond period (say 3 yrs) that if they commit an offence within 3 yrs of release they get an automatic 1 yr in jail.

    is it a doer?
    Financially I don’t think it is.
    What do others think?

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  71. Mick Mac (1,091 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler (2,183) Says:
    February 3rd, 2012 at 8:11 am
    One of the major problems I have with three strikes is that it treats the third strike getaway driver for a burglar of an empty warehouse with a crowbar the same as the third strike guy who shoots someone with a gun, whose life is saved by excellent and surprising healthcare. Why do both of these people need to be sentenced to 14 years without parole?

    I disagree Graeme, they aided and abbetted the offfence and therefore it is only fair and just that they get done for the offence they aided.

    In the case of the spotlighting killer, both the driver and the “spotter” should have served the same sentence as him, Justice was not served both to society nor the victim or her family and freinds in that case IMHO.

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  72. Mick Mac (1,091 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull (4,688) Says:
    February 2nd, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I’m in favour of all suspended and diversion being subject to a good behaviour bond for a period of 3 yrs after sentence finishes or date of diversion.
    Say someone gets a 3/6/12 month sentence suspended for three years, if they are convicted of any offence within that period then they automatically serve the 12 months before the new sentence.
    same for community service, there should always be a custiodial sentence attached so that if it isn’t finished on time or attended or even stuffed around with, straight to jail they go, do not pass go etc etc, plus charged with contempt on top of it.

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  73. David Garrett (7,533 comments) says:

    First let me say that I am all in favour of rehabilitation…but then who isnt? It’s a bit like motherhood and apple pie…Contrary to what my detractors have said ad nauseum, I have never been an advocate of “throw away the key on first offence” or even jail on first offence, depending of course on the offence. When I left parliament abruptly I was working on a project to introduce a trial of drug courts, having become convinced that dealing with the root cause of many offenders’ offending was a necessary part of the solution – but with penal sanctions quickly following for those not willing to engage.

    The starting point in my view is to openly accept that prison is NOT primarily about rehab; it never was, and should not be its primary purpose. Offenders are sent to prison as punishment, or for the biblically inclined, to atone from their sins. So let’s stop pretending that prison per se is going to rehabilitate people. There is much truth in the assertion that most prisoners come out of jail more accomplished criminals.

    Mic Mac above lays out some very good sensible suggestions – much of which is actually “back to the future”, although for some reason the liberal left seem determined to ignore the reality that some of what we did in the past worked very well: Suspended sentences and orders to attend drug and alcohol courses used to carry the sanction of immediate jail if you reoffended or failed to attend as ordered; Periodic Detention had the sanction of immediate imprisonment if you didn’t bother to turn up on Saturday morning; recidivist offenders could once be declared “habitual criminals” and liable to arrest if they met with other habitual criminals; non- association orders regarding other named criminals were once a standard condition of parole. Is it simply a coincidence that during that period we had very low levels of crime?

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  74. David Garrett (7,533 comments) says:

    I see Mic Mac was busy while I was writing my last post….what he is saying is 100% right and COMMON SENSE but there is a great aversion among the over-educated to common sense these days (Sounding like an old curmudgeon there, but “whatever” as the yoof say)

    For those that are interested, Drug Courts (in California at least) work like this: If the offender commits a violent offence while under the influence of drugs he is sent to jail, with a requirement that he attend drug therapy programs while inside. Rather to my surprise, and very much contrary to popular belief, I found that the evidence shows a remarkable degree of improvement from those who attend compulsorily. Those who dont “engage” simply end up on the 3S treadmill and eventually get locked up for a very long time.

    For drug addicted offenders convicted of non violent offences, their treatment is in the community – with one BIG proviso: if they dont attend as required, or test positive for drugs at any time, they serve the suspended sentence that is given to them upon conviction and sentence. This is automatic; no need to tie up the court, just straight off to jail. Compliance with those programmes is apparently very high – again for obvious common sense reasons.

    The latter is of course simply the old PD model with a treatment program instead of weeding the side of the road and cutting up firewood for pensioners. And yes, it will be expensive, but as everyone knows, so is prison. And for both human and financial reasons, it is obviously better to divert criminals from becoming subjected to 3S or even repeated prison sentences.

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