The Herald reports National is to has announce that a violent offender will not be eligible for parole, if they have previously been convicted of a violent crime and sentenced to five or more years in prison previously.
The “life means life” sentence would have applied to high-profile offenders such as prison-van basher George Charlie Baker, RSA triple-killer William Duane Bell and samurai sword assailant and killer Antonie Dixon.
It is understood National’s research shows that of the 144 offenders convicted of murder since 2002, 10 would be in this category.
This sounds about right. It is only the worst 5% to 10% of killers who will never be released.
The policy would have a big effect on the full spectrum of violent crime. Repeat robbers, repeat rapists and those who repeatedly commit violence within the home would not get parole.
Those denied parole under this category would also be monitored for a fixed term when they were released, “rather than being left to their own devices”.
It is understood National believes an additional 572 offenders could be in prison by late 2011 because of the policy.
And I think people would be surprised by how many crimes those 572 offenders commit by being let out early.
This would require a new jail, which the party has costed at $314 million, and an extra $43 million a year in prison operating costs.
That is a price I am happy to pay.
Prime Minister Helen Clark this morning described the National policy as vindictive. She said that under current law some prisoners were not released.
“It’s very easy to say lock the door and throw the key away,” she said on TV One’s Breakfast programme.
“A lot of these long-term prisoners, over time start to change their behaviour, some become very religious.
“The National Party’s attitude is they don’t care about that at all, they just want to be vindictive.”
Vindictive against repeat violent offenders. Well if you have to be vindictive, better to target rapists and killers than the Exclusive Brethren.
And I repeat – this only applies to the worst of the worst – those who have already been sentenced to five or more years in jail for a violent crime, and after being released have commited another violent crime.