SST analysis of three strikes

August 29th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Sensible Sentencing Trust has done an analysis of the legislation (which may be gone if the Government changes). As at the end of 2013, the stas are:

  • 1st strikes 3,721
  • 2nd strikes 29
  • 3rd strikes 0

It’s great to see so few second strikes, and that so far there have been no third strikes.

They have a profile of the 24 2nd strikers:

  • 100% have numerous prior convictions as adults. And these are not for minor offences. They include burglary, male assaults female, possession of offensive weapons, robbery, aggravated robbery, indecent assault, theft and many others.
  • 46% have prior convictions for ‘strike’ offences before Three Strikes taking effect on 1 June 2010. Because Three Strikes was not implemented ‘retrospectively’ these prior offences do not count as ‘strikes’ against their record.
  • The average age of second strikers is just under 26 years, and all but one are men. The youngest second striker is 19 years old, and the oldest 45 years old, at the time of second strike sentence.
  • 67% received a sentence of imprisonment for their first strike offence/s. Of those imprisoned, the average term was 14% of the maximum available. The average term imposed was 20 months.
  • 38% of first strikers committed their first strike offence while on bail, parole or while still subject to sentence.
  • 67% of second strikers committed their second strike offence while on bail, parole or while still subject to sentence.
  • 92% received a sentence of imprisonment for their second strike offence/s. Of those imprisoned for their second strike offence/s, the average term was 24% of the maximum available. The average term imposed was 35 months. The term imposed is served without parole or early release under the three strikes law.
  • 67% committed their second strike offence while on bail, parole or while still subject to sentence.

The fact that 38% of second strikers committed their first strike whole on bail or parole is telling.

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45 Responses to “SST analysis of three strikes”

  1. lastmanstanding (1,304 comments) says:

    So point seven eight of one per cent are so moronic and feral they go into commit a second strike. Oh well I guess short of fifty cents of hot lead we have to expect that.

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  2. Redbaiter (9,662 comments) says:

    What I don’t get is why there are only 3721 first strikers.

    Surely the number of crimes committed has exceeded this number.

    Why is it so low?

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  3. NK (1,259 comments) says:

    And Act will deliver it for burglary too once elected after September 20. Can’t come soon enough. Burglary is a repulsive offence just once, but on three separate convictions you don’t deserve anything less than three years.

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  4. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    I don’t particularly like the language “14% of the maximum available”. There are a range of sentences for a given crime based on the severity of the crime. So, for example, an assault with weapon sentence would vary from “I hit a guy in the stomach with a stick of 4×2″ through to “I stabbed someone 48 times with a knife, kicked him in the head, and then beat him with a baseball bat”. The way it’s expressed the first reaction is “why on earth are the sentences so light” when in fact they are potentially appropriate to the crime committed.

    @Red: strike crimes are relatively low – they are severe assaults, rapes and murders. Despite the sometime hysteria about it, those offences don’t occur all that often in NZ.

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  5. Mark (1,493 comments) says:

    Given the SST clear bias this analysis is perhaps a collection of selected statistics that support their perspective and needs to be treated as such rather than being a proper analysis of the success or otherwise of the three strikes rules.

    I am undecided as to whether it is good or bad law and I guess only time will tell with proper independent analysis of the outcomes.

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  6. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Great, so we will have that 92% released after a long period of imprisonment into the community with no legal ability to monitor them, place restrictions on them, supervise them and so on, because they have no parole. As their sentence is ended at the time they leave prison, the law cannot enforce any conditions/restrictions upon them, including preventing them from contacting victims.

    Just bloody wonderful!! What a recipe for disaster.

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  7. duggledog (1,589 comments) says:

    That’s right Judith and when they get out, they will be broken, hopefully.

    For me, prison means (in order)

    1: Punishment
    2: Inability to cause any more strife
    and a distant
    3: Rehabilitation.

    Unfortunately 1 and 2 are not an option any more, so we are only left with 3. Rehabilitation can ultimately only come from oneself, you throw all your taxes at criminals if you want but so long as prisons are comfy, lawyers are free and penalties are only a minor inconvenience, we won’t see much rehabilitation.

    Half a prison term spent in China or Malaysia would be all the incentive the rock apes would need to re think their lives

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  8. Huevon (223 comments) says:

    The trouble with this is that Leftists are so retarded that they see 0% 3rd strikers and then say “look, the law is unnecessary!!”

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  9. Redbaiter (9,662 comments) says:

    “Just bloody wonderful!! What a recipe for disaster.”

    What you need to do you self absorbed prog fruit cake is take responsiblity for the unprecedented crime disaster you and your ilk have unleashed on NZ over the last five decades.

    Law abiding citizens living in barred and shuttered prisons of their own making because the justice system, infiltrated by wet useless academics and other assorted navel gazing fuckwits has completely failed them.

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  10. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    @Judith: well, the choice is that they’re in the community with supervision during that time, or in jail during that time. Given we’re talking about people who’ve already had two strikes (and therefore demonstrated that supervision doesn’t lead to rehabilitation), I suspect that them being in jail during that time is more likely to prevent them from committing crimes than parole is. These aren’t your average Joe who has just gone off the rails. These are people who have demonstrated an inability to reform, and an inability to comprehend the consequences of their actions.

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  11. Distilled essence of NZ (85 comments) says:

    PaulL: “I don’t particularly like the language “14% of the maximum available””

    Me neither. First time offenders generally get a lower sentence than repeat offenders too , and that’s the way it should be.

    Also, one major problem with the law. The third strike, which necessitates a sentence of indefinite length is unfair. There is such a thing as wrongful conviction, and it’s easy to make false complaints stick on repeat offenders, because they are often viewed as guilty before the evidence has even been heard. They could end up quite easily, doing 20 years for something they haven’t done. Need I also point out that there have been no third strikes so far because the legislation was only brought in a few years ago, and the sentences for strike offences are relatively long.

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  12. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ duggledog (1,425 comments) says:
    August 29th, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    People don’t come out of prison broken Duggledog.

    They tend to come out far healthier than what they went in. Just about all come out expressing a desire to change their ways, however, as they are released back into the same environment from where they came, plus they have the added disadvantage of being a convicted criminal imprisoned for a length of time – which makes them less employable – they also have survival issues.

    There are other issues as well. Imagine being out of the system for 10 years – all the technology that has been invented since then and so on? They come out with high hopes, that are quickly dashed. They get down- resort to drugs etc, get back with old friends, and before long are back into the same illicit lifestyle.

    When they are released on parole, it is easier to put restrictions on them, to monitor their progress, recall them if they are slipping, and especially prevent them from associating with their victims and other innocents.

    The three strikes rule will only work if there is a post-imprisonment ability to at least partially supervise their re-integration into the community.

    The problem is not the sentence of parole, or bail, it is who we are giving bail and parole to – those that are unable to adhere to the conditions.

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  13. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ PaulL (5,981 comments) says:
    August 29th, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    That is true, but the fact is Paul, at some stage they have to be let out, unless they are there for life.

    Eventually they will be in the community, and if their sentence is finished, they will be there unsupervised.

    The ideal is to have sentences of sufficient duration as to impose a length period of imprisonment, followed by a period of intensive supervision with strict custom made rules to ensure the are successfully integrated into the community and therefore others are not at high risk from them.

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  14. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Redbaiter (7,983 comments) says:
    August 29th, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    You’re a dopey twat Redbaiter. It doesn’t matter how long you keep them in prison – unless you hold them there until they die, one day you are going to have to let them out. And if you do that without the ability to monitor and supervise, then innocent people are going to be harmed!

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  15. Redbaiter (9,662 comments) says:

    Good, hold them there until they die then.

    Its long past time criminals took responsibility for themselves but they don’t because for too long there’s been a legion of narcissistic fools like you out there telling them its always someone else’s fault.

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  16. David Garrett (7,565 comments) says:

    Red: I wouldn’t go so far as call u a “dopey twat”…but the reason there are “only” 3700 odd first strikers is because strike offenses are offenses of srious violence attracting seven yeas or more iin jail…the really interesting stat is the second strikers…only 37 of them (this SST study was done a while ago)…o
    Most of the first strikers will have done a ahortish prison sentence…but only a fraction have offended similarly. ..what does that tell u? It tells me we just be seeing deterrence at work…

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  17. Distilled essence of NZ (85 comments) says:

    Redbaiter:

    Say someone, we’ll call them “L”, has a wayward friend “S”. L knows that S is going to go to a person’s place to ask that person to pay a debt they owe. S is quite worked up, it could get ugly. L, being concerned for the welfare of both S, and whoever their potential victim might be, decides to strike a deal with S. He says “i’ll mediate the situation, so long as you agree that you’ll neither commit any violence, or take anything from them”. They arrive and S pays no head to the deal, and starts violently attacking the debtor. L sees this and convinces S to leave. Guess what? L has just committed a strike, and will do two years in jail. Now, is it still your opinion that such a “violent criminal” should be left to rot in jail for their whole life?

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  18. Viking2 (11,579 comments) says:

    Distilled essence of NZ (13 comments) says:
    August 29th, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    PaulL: “I don’t particularly like the language “14% of the maximum available””

    Me neither. First time offenders generally get a lower sentence than repeat offenders too , and that’s the way it should be.
    ————————
    Except that they are rarely first offenders, just haven’t offended since the law changed.

    100% have numerous prior convictions as adults. And these are not for minor offences. They include burglary, male assaults female, possession of offensive weapons, robbery, aggravated robbery, indecent assault, theft and many others.

    46% have prior convictions for ‘strike’ offences before Three Strikes taking effect on 1 June 2010. Because Three Strikes was not implemented ‘retrospectively’ these prior offences do not count as ‘strikes’ against their record.

    Right at the top of the page.
    Dur

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  19. Redbaiter (9,662 comments) says:

    Dave- What it tells me is that liberals in the justice system still have far too much input into policy. We need politicians who will deal with these self serving seat warming shiny arsed bureaucrats not kowtow to them.

    The 3 strikes policy need to be expanded into areas where crime is rampant and that means burglary and it is utterly fucking ridiculous and pathetic that ACT are the only party advocating this and they’re struggling and will probably never get a chance to implement it anyway.

    This whole scenario is just another betrayal by the National Party who are the guys who should be taking the lead on this. But they’re just useless.

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  20. Redbaiter (9,662 comments) says:

    “Now, is it still your opinion that such a “violent criminal” should be left to rot in jail for their whole life?”

    FFS, the claim was that they would be a danger to society when released. That is why I said keep them in jail.

    Nevertheless the same principle applies. There is too much emphasis on fault evasion- ie its someone else’s fault or it’s society’s fault, or the crim was on drugs or pissed and its just completely damn idiotic that such factors should be accepted as mitigating any offence.

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  21. Distilled essence of NZ (85 comments) says:

    Viking,

    The 14% stat is actually for first strike offenders – go back and read it more carefully.

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  22. Distilled essence of NZ (85 comments) says:

    Redbaiter:

    “the claim was that they would be a danger to society when released”

    oh – so you’re saying you would leave it up to the parole board to decide who’s a danger and who isn’t? Because I can agree with that – which is why the three strikes law is unnecessary.

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  23. rg (214 comments) says:

    It is only ACT that can push a lethargic unimaginative National Party in to pass legisaltion like this that works.

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  24. Redbaiter (9,662 comments) says:

    “oh – so you’re saying you would leave it up to the parole board to decide who’s a danger and who isn’t? Because I can agree with that – which is why the three strikes law is unnecessary.”

    I am saying that the justice system is a complete failure and everyone involved should be jailed for five years with hard labour for their dereliction of duty and their utter contempt for the main purpose of their existence which is to keep law abiding NZers free from crime.

    I give credit to the poor bastards like Garret and SST who struggled mightily to do something about this disgusting state of affairs in the face of a tidal wave of bullshit from entrenched interests, but the truth is its all just frittering around the edges.

    We need longer sentences, harsh jail conditions, hard labour and the death penalty. But before we need all that we need to destroy the govt sector that promotes the idea that crime is society’s fault and not the fault of the individual committing it.

    There is your problem, in the shifting of responsibility from the individual to the collective, and these subversive communist bastards pushing this concept are to blame for so much that is wrong in our society besides the joke organisation that masquerades as the Justice system.

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  25. David Garrett (7,565 comments) says:

    Right rebuttal time…apologies for the typos in my 1.06…trying to do it on the phone.

    Mark (and DPF for that matter): What SST has released is NOT an analysis as I understand that word…it is merely a breakdown of the strike offenders by past offence, number of prior strike offences, total number of offences, percentage of second strikers as opposed to first et. etc.. An ANALYSIS would “this is happening, and these are the reasons why “…SST have largely avoided saying that.

    You remind me of a dickhead I debated on live radio when the Bill was passing through parliament…I quoted the stats in California (60% reduction in violent crime in the ten years after 3S passed there) and he responded somewhat lamely ..”but that’s just one study”… While it is certainly true that stats can be massaged, there is no massaging in that SST “analysis”. You obviously disagree…perhaps you could point to which part is “spun” from your point of view.

    Distilled @ 1.10: Yours is a the typical convoluted and highly unlikely the scenario the lefties came up with at the time the Bill was going through parliament. There is one very simple answer to your scenario: L should have had the good sense to say “That is a very poor idea Bro, I am having no part of it, and suggest you do the same.” If he is so weak, stupid or misguided as to accompany his friend, then you are correct, he is theoretically liable to be charged as a party to an aggravated robbery.

    But – as all good lefties do – you are assuming a great deal, all of it negative. Firstly, having heard this sad tale, the cops may charge L with a lesser offence, or no offence at all. Secondly, if he IS charged, L’s barrister will put this sad tale to a jury who may well think “poor boy, we cant convict him of that.”

    But let’s say your worse case scenario comes to pass…L will become one of the 3700 odd first strikers, but if he is as peace loving as you suggest, having been once bitten he won’t place himself in that position again, will he? And best of all, he will tell all his mates “that three strikes law, that’s heavy bro…you can even get busted if you are just there, and don’t actually give anyone the bash!”

    Perhaps that’s why so few of the 3700 have gone on to a second strike…and before Workman or one of his fellow travellers jumps in, NO I cant prove that that is the case…proving exactly why someone stopped offending is a pretty well impossible task.

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  26. David Garrett (7,565 comments) says:

    Distlled @ 1.24: You betray your ingnorance of our sentencing and parole laws. Under the Setencing Act 2002 – parts of which the 3S law override for very good reasons), every person who is sentenced to a finite term of imprisonment is eligible for parole after serving one third of their sentence…they don’t even have to apply – it happens automatically.

    No matter how dangerous the Parole Board thinks the offender is, they MUST be released prior to the end of their Judge given sentence. Thus are many cases where the Parole Board says publicly “We regard X as still very much a danger to society, but we have no choice but to release him”

    THAT is one of the many reasons 3S was necessary; to ensure that habitually violent offenders are kept away from the rest of us for as long as possible, and to make criminal careers very much shorter than they have been hitherto.

    BTW do you actually KNOW anyone who has served time for, or been charged with, a strike offence? I very much doubt it…the world is more benign place when viewed from some Student’s Union…

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  27. David Garrett (7,565 comments) says:

    DPF: You need to correct your post…you have misread the study.

    38% of FIRST strikers – not second – committed their offence while on bail or parole for a non – strike offence, or for a strike offence committed before the law came into effect in June 2010.

    67% of SECOND strikers committed their offence while on bail, parole, or in other ways subject to an earlier sentence (which may not necessarily have been a strike offence).

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  28. David Garrett (7,565 comments) says:

    Red: Just re-read your posts…you know as well as I do that the death penalty (DP) will never be reintroduced, and I have posted here before the very good reasons why to do so would be counterproductive…the amusing thing is that as far as it goes I partly agree with you: if we had the DP as even a discretionary sentence soft cocks on juries would refuse to convict, and we would have a bunch of murderers serving finite sentences for manslaughter instead of life which their offences deserved.

    You are certainly correct about National not leading in this area of the law…I believe I have said here before that I was negotiating with Power – supposedly in good faith – to come up with a version of the law which the Nats could support…at the same time – we later learned – Power was telling his advisors we would have a 3S law “over my [his] dead body.” That we DO have the law is as much down to Key’s integrity as my lobbying abilities, which is one of the reasons I am a big fan of Key’s. In short, he is a man of his word, and threats – like the one Power made to him – don’t move him.

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  29. Ed Snack (1,927 comments) says:

    DE, the 14% was for first strike offenders. However the 2nd strike offenders received average sentences of only 24% of the maximum, and all of those (100%) had previous offenses before their first strike, so this is their third serious crime, and they still only get 24% of maximum.

    I wonder what it would take (absent three strikes legislation) to get even 50% of the max. If you treat the two numbers as a diminishing sequence (14, then an extra 10), the maximum average sentence after 20 serious violent offenses is less than 40% of the maximum. Joke analysis, sure, but you can perhaps see why TS is relatively popular with the law-abiding majority of citizens.

    There does appear to be a very small minority of people who are responsible for a hugely disproportionate share of violent offenses, and a proportion do seem to be incorrigible. TS may be fairly crude carrot & stick (mostly stick) tactics, but on the face of it it may be having some impact. And this government has been taking significant steps to improve rehabilitation. Both are important, but I don’t think that either works well on its own except on a minority.

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  30. Black with a Vengeance (1,867 comments) says:

    I’m more interested in the ethnic, socio economic and education backgrounds of the ‘strikers’.

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  31. Distilled essence of NZ (85 comments) says:

    Garrett –

    You’re wrong on every point there – L tried to dissuade wayward friend, but it didn’t work. L told their lawyer what happened, and lawyer recommended guilty plea, said jury wouldn’t find it believable. In the end L may have prevented a homicide from occurring and served two years jail for their service. This is real world.

    I’m illustrating how easy it is for wrongful convictions to occur. Now if L breaks up with a woman who decides to be particularly venal, and cry rape (seen that happen also), L will end up doing 8-10 years jail as a second strike. Think about it – you’re admirably concerned with helping victims, but in the process you have become misguided, and you’re creating more victims. Imagine doing a 10 year jail sentence. You know what – I would rather take five aggravated burglaries (say i get a hiding and all my stuff is taken) than go through that.

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  32. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    @Distilled essence of NZ: we shouldn’t set our sentencing policies based on the possibility that people we convict are innocent. By that logic, nobody should get any sentence at all, because if they were innocent it would be unfair for them to go to jail. (The only exception to that is the death penalty, as clearly someone we killed cannot then appeal). If you’re concerned about people being wrongfully convicted then you should be focusing on the courts and the prosecution process, not the sentence they get given once wrongfully convicted.

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  33. David Garrett (7,565 comments) says:

    Distilled: My apologies…you didn’t make it clear it was a real and not hypothetical example… IF the facts are as you say – and I say “if” because unless you were there during this crucial conversation you know no better than I do who said what – then L is indeed unfortunate.

    And you are right, if L makes bad choices in women, the scenario you lay out could just happen… I don’t doubt there will be some unfortunate L’s among the second strikers over time…but if violent crime shows the same positive trend as it has been I’m afraid half a dozen L’s every ten years is – sadly – collateral damage that is justified.

    Black: Of course you would be…and you would win the coconut, because inevitably, most of them will be brown and poorly educated… So what? Whether they know right from wrong in an objective sense, they know what is against the law , and what sort of behaviour will get them locked up. This is one of the major differences between you and your mates and those on the right: you assume that if you didn’t stay in school past the third form you are inevitably stupid…In the real world, you can be illiterate and still street-smart as hell, or at least as cunning as the proverbial shit house rat…

    Do you mind telling us your job? It’s relevant because of the type of people you are exposed to…

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  34. Redbaiter (9,662 comments) says:

    He doesn’t have a job and its the racist undercurrents of NZ society that are to blame.

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  35. Distilled essence of NZ (85 comments) says:

    PaulL:

    I’m saying that sentences should be balanced against the “L” scenario discussed above. Under 3 strikes and “L” would have no possibility of parole on second strike, even with a perfect behaviour record whilst doing his sentence, and a psychiatrist’s report that says he appears to be a balanced non-harmful guy.

    Mr Garrett – I don’t buy the collateral damage argument either. Cases such as L’s need to be taken into account, or else you are using justice to create injustice.

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  36. Black with a Vengeance (1,867 comments) says:

    most of them will be brown and poorly educated… So what? 

    So what ? So it’s a continued failing to address those statistics over successive generations that will see nothing much change.

    As for job, i dont see that it makes much difference what i do as to what type of people im exposed to or how i choose to let them affect me. Glad im not a lawyer or politician though cos then i’d have no moral compass at all.

    Just ask Judith Collins, or maybe your good self Garrett ?

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  37. Distilled essence of NZ (85 comments) says:

    Also Mr Garrett

    Sometimes you know someone well enough to know that they always act as a peacemaker and sacrifice their own well-being for others. The L scenario is real, and that’s as far as i’m discussing it.

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  38. David Garrett (7,565 comments) says:

    Black: You see? You prove every time that it is pointless engaging with you…

    Distilled: I am not doubting L’s story being real…you have told me it is so – I am giving you my reaction to that.. Perhaps L should make some new friends..

    .And here I am largely with Red…or at least the philosophy of utilitarianism…I am not glad L finds himself in an awkward position, but I am very very glad that the law I helped get passed is working so well, and exactly as it was intended to…

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  39. waikatogirl (674 comments) says:

    Same old thing with criminals, mostly too thick to change their ways. As saying goes: Do what you have always done and you get what you have always got. Surely there are plenty of agencies and goody gum drop people to help those who wish to change – enough taxpayer money being thrown at agencies and criminals!

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  40. Black with a Vengeance (1,867 comments) says:

    Black: You see? You prove every time that it is pointless engaging with you…

    No i dont see. What i do see is, you have your preconcieved notions and assumptions and everything is about trying to justify them with anecdote and incomplete data while avoidiing the root causes.

    It’s just not worth it trying to change anybody’s opinion when they are so extreme in their abberant beliefs.

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  41. Milk Me (157 comments) says:

    DG: How many strikes are you on?
    Three Strikes. it is a good sound bite but has not really made any sort of a difference.

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  42. jcuk (718 comments) says:

    I think people misunderstood Judith’s position earlier around lunchtime which is my position too … the law, not TS, is an ass not to appreciate the unsupervised release of a prisoner after a lengthy term [ completing all of their 1/2/3S sentance ] without adequate supervision and support is inviting more trouble from the released person of most likely of limited mental ability and knowledge of how to survive in today’s society.

    It seems plain common sense that anybody who serves a ‘strike’ offence should be under supervision for as long as it takes for them to demonstrate their willingness and ability to ‘go straight’ in addition to their sentance.

    But of course it is easier for people to close their eyes to the problem as superficially this is cheaper. Society always goes for the cheaper solution even if it often doesn’t work.

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  43. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    @Distilled: the reality is that “L” was convicted. Therefore the govt found that “L” did the crime. If your feeling is that “L” didn’t do the crime, then your objection is that they shouldn’t have been convicted. If you’re saying that they did do the crime, but that extenuating circumstances should have been taken into account in sentencing, then I think that the strikes legislation does allow for judicial discretion for exactly cases like that (DG can correct me if wrong).

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  44. Bob R (1,393 comments) says:

    ***so it’s a continued failing to address those statistics over successive generations that will see nothing much change.***

    What kind of interventions are likely to alter those statistics? Various twin/adoption studies show behavioural traits are partly heritable. Encouraging the worst criminals to have vasectomies might help. Ensuring there are ample jobs for young men is getting harder as technology and off-shoring have replaced a number of jobs replaces. Reducing alcohol and drug use by pregnant mothers. A number of people incarcerated tend to have a background of head injury. I’m not sure how you can reduce that, but it seems to be factor. Drug/alchohol interventions are already in place.

    In the meatime, regardless of why people commit serious offences there needs to be a mechanism of keeping the public safe. The three strikes approach seems a slightly crude, but not unreasonable, way of protecting the public from recidivist serious offenders.

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  45. Distilled essence of NZ (85 comments) says:

    PaulL:

    The point is that wrongful convictions are going to happen, and appeals aren’t going to help unless new significant evidence is brought to light, or if there was a failure of judicial process. Therefore making everyone do the full sentence on the second and third strikes, means that such a person has no chance of getting parole. Presumably such a person is going to be well behaved in prison, and be able to show he parole board that they aren’t an undue risk to the community. where as in the past such a person may have gotten out after 5 years on a 10 year sentence, they will now do the full 10 year sentence, which is a much worse injustice. I hope that clears it up.

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