Laws on Three Strikes

Michael Laws writes:

In short, the policy properly aligns sentencing for serious criminal acts with parliament’s intent. The great frustration for generations of politicians has been that they create the law, only for the courts to screw it up.

Sentencing is a classic example. The law isn’t even much use as a reference given that the courts can, and do, set their own generous compensation to mitigate any maxima. To make matters worse, parole provisions frustrate even that intent. Now violent and/or sexual offenders get a strike for their first offence, no parole for their second, and the maximum prescribed sentence for their third. …

We want the deranged, the psychotic and criminal classes as far away from us as possible, for as long as possible. Releasing the addled and anti-social back into our community can only create new victims. Indeed, you might argue that the cost of recidivist reoffenders – their arrest, charging, legal aid, trial, sentencing and the like – is actually more expensive than throwing away the key. Certainly for their victims.

And, although criminals are not the brightest species on the planet, neither are they wholly moronic. The policy has the capacity to reduce offending by scoping a harsher environment. The Californian experience shows that the stick can work: the policy sends an understood message.

Not much to disagree with there.

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