‘3 strikes’, typical ‘Do Nothing’ Key policy

Written By: - Date published: 8:08 am, January 20th, 2010 - 89 comments
Categories: crime, law and "order", poverty, prisons, privatisation, unemployment - Tags:

The ‘3 strikes’ policy is the kind of policy you put in place when you want to look tough on crime but you have no idea how to actually reduce it, in the same way a cycleway is the jobs plan you have when you don’t have a plan.

We know locking people up longer doesn’t reduce crime. It is not a deterrent (how, I which we had a Corrections Minister who knew that basic fact). The single best way to reduce crime is by getting people in jobs, giving them something to do with their time and an income. A 1% decrease in unemployment equates to a 6% reduction in crime, which works out at about one less crime for every one less person unemployed. That makes the Greens’ Green New Deal the best crime-prevention policy out there.

At any rate, the ‘3 strikes’ policy will hardly result in locking anyone up longer, even the worst offenders. The Government admits that ‘3 strikes’ won’t have any effect for 8-10 years. It claims that 142 extra people will be locked up in 10 years time under the ‘3 strikes’ rule but many of these people would have been given lengthy sentences on their third serious offence anyway.

Of course,  the long-term result of these long mandatory sentences is a bunch of geriatrics, who are no danger to anyone anymore, still being locked up at a cost of for crimes they committed as much as 50 years ago. By 2060, 750 people will be locked up under the law, most of them elderly, at a cost of $100,000 per year and $500,000 per prison bed (again, using the Government’s own figures).

Here’s a government that’s willing to take a troubled, violent young man and lock him up for half a century at a cost of $5 million and yet it’s not willing to invest a fraction of that amount in programmes for at-risk kids, or job creation, or training for beneficiaries, or adult education, or drug and alcohol programmes, or all the other programmes that work to give young people a better chance at life and stop them committing crimes in the first place.

It’s so sad that we can find billions of dollars for punishment, that doesn’t help the offender and can’t undo the damage to the victim, and yet we won’t spend anything like that on prevention.

But, of course, there are corporates with a big interest in the punishment industry, and National is welcoming them to New Zealand with open arms. Private prisons are big business in the States and Australia, and the more people being sentenced to longer sentences the better business gets.

Overseas we have seen private prison companies fund lobby groups and ‘think tanks’ calling for tougher sentences. We’ve seen them get into corrupt deals with judges, who get kick-backs for handing down longer sentences. And we have seen no savings for the taxpayer or reduction in crime as a result. This is what we’re opening ourselves up to in New Zealand.

In ten years time, unless a Labour Government with balls and good sense has reversed these policies, we will see who wins from private prisons and ‘3 strikes’ as offenders are sent to rot in private prisons, and make profit for their owners while we taxpayers foot the bill.

89 comments on “‘3 strikes’, typical ‘Do Nothing’ Key policy”

  1. ben 1

    An obvious answer to the huge cost of state prison beds is to privatise them. That may also lead to the introduction of competence to the prison system.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Oh god, the sheer stupidity.

      FACT: Private prisons cost more and their competence is lower as the people they hire are hired on how cheap they are and not if they can actually do the job.

  2. Marty G 2

    Why would privatisation make it cheaper?

    They still have to provide the same services, it’s not like Corrections is just burning money, and private owners have to make a profit on top of the same cost base.

    We know what this leads to from overseas experience – more dangerous prisons, less rehabilitation, worse pay and conditions for guards, which means worse guards.

  3. Darren 3

    @Ben

    Private prisons are not cheaper!

    The GEO CEO (or whatever he is) was at the select committee where he specifically said that private prisons are NOT cheaper.

    So what argument is there for them at all? Just wondering:)

  4. ieuan 4

    From your graph you get more crime at 6% unemployment rate than 8%.

    Really for your graph to have any relevance to this law you should look at the correlation between violent crimes and unemployment not just all crimes.

    I agree that it is another window dressing exercise for National, all they have really done is take the decision on the sentencing away from the judges.

    Ben: the obvious answer is to do as much as you can to prevent people ending up in prison in the first place.

    • Marty G 4.1

      “From your graph you get more crime at 6% unemployment rate than 8%.”

      No you don’t. In a scatter graph you’re looking at the trend line and how closely the data points sit to the trend.

      Of course there are going to be individual outliers along the trend line, some above, some below, but the fact is that crime and unemployment are very strongly correlated – unemployment goes down, so does crime

      • Marty G 4.1.1

        following on. the two positive outliers you’re looking at 6.5% are 95/96 and 96/97, they followed 94/95, which is the data point out beyond 8% unemployment.

        See how the crime levels are the same at the three data points. Unemployment dropped by 2% from 94/95 to 95/96 but there was a little lag before crime followed it down

  5. “In ten years time, unless a Labour Government with balls and good sense has reversed these policies”

    My guess is they won’t. When was the last time a government reversed a harsh sentencing law?

    Happy to be proven wrong, however.

  6. gomango 6

    Not a very relevant graph given the hypothesis you are arguing.

    Why not plot the unemployment rate versus the types of crime covered by the three strikes policy rather than all crime. I don’t know what that relationship looks like, but that is the relevant comparison. Of course burglaries, theft, dishonesty offences increase with unemployment but do serious violent crime offences?

    • Marty G 6.1

      My point is that if you want to reduce crime, you reduce unemployment.

      Will your 3 strikes law reduce crime? Any evidence?

      • Rob Carr 6.1.1

        Higher sentences clearly reduce crime rates I mean look at the death penalty in the USA http://nmrepeal.org/files/images/murder_rates.jpg

        I don’t think the three strikes policy has ever been about reducing crime. It is a way to punish those evil criminals who torment society. They are clearly not human beings who deserve ya know freedom and rights and stuff.

        • Bored 6.1.1.1

          The graph is really rather enlightening….somehow the murder rate is decreasing substantially over the time covered, plus it is always lower in non death penalty states….makes the retention of the penalty rather silly from an “effectiveness” viewpoint.

          Love the three strikes thing, whole idea is to provide severe social control on those elements of society who might be lots of trouble becoause they see limited roles for themselves and benefits etc by sticking to the rules. They might also have plenty of spare time with little cash …so crime is a real option, as is “getting out of it” paid for by the proceeds. Same people are probably young, from broken down communities in poor areas…in the States they are black. Sound familiar?

        • Bright Red 6.1.2.1

          from the subtitle of your link:

          “Evidence Suggests That People Don’t Suddenly Commit Murder After Losing Their Jobs; But Theft, Yes”

          Yep, unemployment causes crime.

  7. Marty G 7

    If you want specific graphs, gomango, make them yourself and share them with us

  8. Boris Clarkov 8

    At times such as this, reading posts such as this, you might ask yourself; why is Labour pro-crime?

    There are two reasons. The first and foremost is that Labour’s over-ridding policy objective is to foment a communist revolution in New Zealand. Stable societies are less susceptible to revolution and crime is socially disruptive, so Labour supports crime.

    Secondly, the overwhelming majority of criminals are Labour voters. Alongside welfare beneficiaries and unskilled third-world immigrants, criminals make up the core of the Labour electorate. Criminals are Labour’s constituency.

    [lprent: An uninteresting set of mindless assertions with NO backing argument, links or anything useful apart from providing an insight into the head of a conspiracy nutter. Tends to say more about your repetition troll characteristics than anything else. I’d suggest that you learn to argue before I ban you as being one.

    Looking over your comments since September, I can’t see that you have done anything apart from making mindless assertions. I don’t think you add anything to the debate here. You’re probably better off finding an echo chamber somewhere. ]

    • Bright Red 8.1

      Boris, you’re one weird dude.

      Crime went down under Labour.

      It has always been Labour policy that a job is the best thing a government can deliver for a citizen – it reduces poverty, it leads to better health, it reduces crime, and it gives the kids a better chance at life.

      The social democratic left saved capitalism in the 1930s and, so far, in this period.

      Revolutionaries hate Labour.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      Boris, thanx for the example of delusion that is part and parcel of RWNJs.

    • prism 8.3

      Boris Clarkov There was an old song hit called Little Sir Echo. Perhaps you could take that on as your pseudonym.

  9. vto 9

    The way I read that is that it is to keep the most dangerous people away from the general public. So the general public do not get further murdered or robbed or raped or viciously beaten. Pretty bloody simple.

    Why should I put up with the risk of having extremely violent people around me and my family? I aint going to. It gets my vote. Rehab for the offendor comes way down the list.

    • No it is to keep people the parole board considers safe away from the community. People who still pose a risk to society are not meant to be released by the parole board. It takes away their ability to release people. Particularly someone who is convicted of a few violent crimes in their late teens and early 20’s, They will then be kept in prison for a good 60-70 years when they are probably no longer dangerous at around 30 because they grew out of it.

      • vto 9.1.1

        I think the policy allows discretion where the circumstances are manifstly unjust, which may cover your scenario Mr Carr.

        • Zorr 9.1.1.1

          There is no discretion allowed for the parole board.

          As far as the wording is currently “3rd strike = no parole” which means that the parole board never gets to even see them.

          • Pascal's bookie 9.1.1.1.1

            Also no discretion about giving parole for a second strike. This means that if a judge sentences someone to life for their second strike, they cannot be released.

            • Rob Carr 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Just thought would this mean that every person that committed murder after a violent crime automatically gets life imprisonment with no parole? There has only been one person that I know of not receive a life sentence for murder so far…

              • Pascal's bookie

                I think that’s what it means Rob…

                For the second offence they will get a jail term (in most cases) with no parole and a further warning.

                So if there’s a mandaotory life sentence, they won’t be released. For non life sentences, they will serve the full period of the sentence inside and be released without conditions as free men/women.

                Stupid government.

    • That’s how it starts VTO and then it’s those taggers, dope smokers and other misfits and next it will be the ones who criticise our “superiors” or the King (You dare to call Billy, Willy the BALDING, YOU, YOU… PLEBS!!) or the cleaning lady of John Key or whoever has the ear of those in power at that moment. (I really thought that the series about Henry VIII with bad boy Jonathan Rhys Meyers, mmm,mmm,mmmah, was an excellent study in absolute power)

      And since nobody and I mean nobody in power wants people capable of independent thinking no matter their so called political stance those of us capable of it will stay in prison or hard labour or what he heck; There so many of them let’s start hanging again because it keeps the riff-raff on their toes and by the way who cares about fair hearings because once their inside their gone and you can make them say most anything provided you give them a bit of “incentive” anyway. (Communist Russia was a great example, only 60 million people “disappeared” in that slice of history).

      And make no mistake bubba, the riff-raff is you and me. How’s that change going for ya?

    • Bright Red 9.3

      vto. We already have preventative detention to keep people who are a permanent danger out of society.

      “Why should I put up with the risk of having extremely violent people around me and my family?”

      Typical silliness. By far the most likely person to harm a member of your family is another member of your family. Not some random stranger.

      There were 62,000 recorded violent crimes last year, the bulk of them domestic violence. A quarter of them are ‘threats and imitidation’, not actual violence, another quarter are ‘minor assaults’ not the ‘extreme violence’ you’ve got yourself in a tissy over.

      Let’s be generous and say half of what’s left are random person vs random person. That’s 15,000 offences a year, or one for every 300 people.

      And most of those offences are not committed by the handful of people who will be locked up by this law.

      • vto 9.3.1

        Disagree red. Perhaps as an example you may wish to consider that fulla Rufus Marsh who died in prison last week. One of the witnesses against him has been living in fear of his release for donkeys years. Perhaps with a policy like this that innocent person may not live in such fear.

        I think you need to consider the needs of joe public over the needs of the crims in the first instance.

        Sure the chances of one of the people that this policy will catch harming my family may be low, bt the chances of one of the people that this policy will catch harming a member of the public is high.

        • Bright Red 9.3.1.1

          Rufus Marsh wasn’t ever getting out anyway, so why the need for this new law?

          I’m not considering the needs of criminals at all.

          I’m considering the $100,000 a year it costs to lock them up.

          I’m considering that this law will do nothing to stop people becoming victims of crime.

          I’m considering it would be worth spending a small fraction of the costs of locing someone up on making sure they never become someone who needs to be locked up in the first place.

        • Rob Carr 9.3.1.2

          The parole board does that. I don’t see why we need to do away with them for peoples 2nd crime and do away with judges for their 3rd crime.

      • ben 9.3.2

        The majority of violence being domestic does not refute anything vto said. Keeping violent family members will also reduce the violence that family faces! Duh.

        • Ben do you read to get any information before you mock others,or are your comments just opinion as they appear.

          If you had read just a little you would understand this policy probably is not going to do what its supporters think or hoped for. The ability to hold a person in prison all ready exists this new legislation could let them out before they otherwise could have been.
          Sharpen up Ben or else we all might think you are just a National Party hack mindlessly supporting the Nact Government.

    • snoozer 9.4

      “Rehab for the offendor comes way down the list.”

      Why, when it’s an effective way of stopping the crime happening in the first place?

      Why are you rightards obsessed with punishing after the fact but not willing to invest in stopping the crime happening in the first place? It’s just stupid. It’s like not bothering to brush your teeth then paying a fortune for shoddy dental work that doesn’t fix the problem

      Personally, I would rather people weren’t victims of crime at all than have the ‘satisfaction’ of punishing the offender.

      • vto 9.4.1

        snoozing, of course preventing the crims in the first place is important too. And should be attended to through job creation etc. No disagreement there. But that aint what this policy is about is it. They are two separate things.

        • Rob Carr 9.4.1.1

          If this policy stays in force it will cost billions of dollars in my lifetime. That kind of expenditure could be put for job creation instead. Governments do not have a limitless supply of money they shouldn’t be spending it on pointless things.

  10. randal 10

    so cut to the chase;
    where does one buy shares in the new prison company.
    who has the prospectus for that?

  11. todd 11

    Just give them jobs!.Bullshit.
    I have a brother who has NEVER worked in his life,if you ask him he will tell you that he aquires his money by LOOKING around.He just laughs at me telling me how stupid it is of me to have a job,when he only (works) about 2 hours a night and has all day to drink and do drugs.The only good thing about this is that he lives in another town (maybe yours).
    He has been to prison 3 times and tells his kids hes going on holiday,got caught burgling a house the very day he was released 3 years ago.

    • snoozer 11.1

      “have a brother who has NEVER worked in his life”
      “he only (works) about 2 hours a night”

      odd.

      Todd. There are always exceptions, habitual criminals, but the numbers don’t lie. Reducing unemployment is the best way to cut crime.

    • prism 11.2

      Todd
      You are mixing the argument up by giving a particular case in a discussion of a general situation. The case you give is only one person in a general statistic covering thousands of people. Each one will have their own approach to life and opportunities – it is known that statistically counting, crime rates rise as unemployment rises and also the rates fall together.
      Good on you for building your own life doing things that are good and worthwhile in society. You can have pride in the life you have made, but your brother can’t hold his head up and assess himself with pride. Unless he takes the hard decision to change, he’ll take the easy, greasy way and slide downwards, nothing surer. Sad but once down a hole, it takes tremendous effort to climb out. And only one in a family may fall like this – individual personalities go different routes.

    • roger nome 11.3

      isn’t there some right-wing gut in the states that is a convicted pedophile? must mean all of them are pedoes. lock them up before they get the chance i say.

  12. todd 12

    I thought you would guess he calls burglary .Only trouble is he is not alone,I had the misfortune to call on him a couple of years ago and a party was in full swing (2pm) all of his mates appeared to be crims also,they gave me heaps when they realized I was STRAIGHT,ie not a crim.Im sorry but unless anyone has seen this behaviour first hand I would doubt they would know just how these people operate.
    The real concern is that he has 2 boys (21 and 26) who he has bought up to live the same life.

  13. todd 13

    Sorry should read.
    I thought you would guess he calls burglary WORK.

  14. Pascal's bookie 14

    Umm from the press release

    “For the second offence they will get a jail term (in most cases) with no parole and a further warning.”

    So if the second offense carries a mandatory life sentence then they only effectively get one strike.

  15. Quoth the Raven 15

    So how will Labour outbid National on this one – hanging. You just know Phil lock em up and throw away the key Goff is contemplating it.

  16. J Mex 16

    So let me get this straight. When the govt acts against what the people want (e.g. Papakura & Supercity) – That’s DEMOCRACY UNDER ATTACK!

    BUT -When the govt goes to pass laws like this (which you have to admit, will have overwhelming public support), you suggest that it shouldn’t be done.

    For good or bad, this is democracy in action. If you held a referendum on this law, I would suggest that it would pass in a heartbeat (not many Nzers don’t want repeat sexual and violent offenders to have longer sentences).

    • Bright Red 16.1

      just because something is popular doesn’t make it sensible or good.

      • J Mex 16.1.1

        I agree Bright Red.

        But it’s pretty inconsistent to write “Democracy Under attack – The will of the people clearly doesn’t matter. Gotta love this transparent and open Tory government that listens to the people.” on one hand.

        And then attack a policy that is, in all likelihood, the will of the people. I obviously missed the lines in this post about “Democracy in action” and “National listening to the will of the people”

        This policy will have overwhelming support, for good or bad, that is democracy in action.

        • Bright Red 16.1.1.1

          No J-Mex. The idea isn’t that the government should do whatever is popular but and never do anything unpopular.

          Governments are not elected to be mere puppets of popular will, they are elected to positions to use their judgement and the information available to them that isn’t pubically available (that’s how the famous conservative Burke saw it) but on the other hand, they don’t have the right to simply disregard the public. There’s a balancing act but in the end you’ve got to look at whether the policy will actually deliver good outcomes.

          ‘3 strikes’ is just populism, a silly policy that won’t work, that hits the right buttons with the public but in the case of the supercity it is Aucklanders’ local government and they want it to stay the way it is. Hide and Key have been completely unable to show any proof that it will deliver better government.

          Two policies, one popular, one unpopular, both of them stupid.

    • lprent 16.2

      In both cases they are lousy laws. The people aspect isn’t the critical bit.

      The 3 strikes is essentially a PR stunt that is likely to have no significant effect on anyone apart from an infinitesimal minority of crims – but have some pretty bad implications about civil liberties in our legal system.

      The super-city was bad law because it essentially ignored almost all of the recommendations that came out of an extensive consultation and review of a legal framework by the royal commission. Rodney Hide seems to have made his version of a super-shitty completely based out of his ideological prejudices and done on behalf of his political benefactors. This is what has been imposed on Aucklanders by Wellington.

      I think that you’re just digressing because you don’t like looking at the underlying base (but different) problems in each of these separate laws.

    • Rob Carr 16.3

      Even if everyone supported the super city changes it would still be an attack on democracy. It messes up the electoral system and that to me is attacking democracy. Passing a law that people support is not necessarily supporting democracy. Someone cannot make a rational decision if they are not informed and the majority of people are not informed about law and order issues the political parties rely on this and go after gut instincts instead. Not enforcing the public’s uninformed opinions is not an attack on democracy it is smart decision making that will work in their favour in the long run.

      • J Mex 16.3.1

        ” It messes up the electoral system and that to me is attacking democracy.””

        As did the most abominable piece of legislation, The Electoral finance Act. No decrying of Democracy under attack when that came out.

        Anyway, I don’t want to open up that old wound.

        This legislation may “have no significant effect on anyone apart from an infinitesimal minority of crims” but that’s not the point, it will have a significant impact of those particular crims.

        I find it interesting, that a group of bloggers, who are in favour of enforcing their own brand of “three strikes and your out” (in relation to posters that offend them) don’t see the common sense in escalating punishments for people who don’t seem to be learning from their punishments and can’t seem to stop committing serious sexual and violence crime against the general population.

        I’m all for rehabilitation programmes and other methods of punishment, but just about every criminologist and sociologist will tell you that there are some people who are just plain bad. They are sociopaths and they will continue to reoffend and reoffend.. We do have some things like preventive detention. The 3 strike law will augment that and stregthen it.

        There was a case recently where a sexual offender came off preventive detention and within days had sexually assaulted a 95 year old. He was caught and sentenced to another round of preventive detention was a non parole period of FIVE years. Under the new law he would be under preventive detention but could not be released for a minimum 10-15 years.

        As for the “civil liberties” aspects that Lyn Lynn mentions, I fail to see how 3 strikes can impinge on civil liberties. Everyone knows the rules in advance. they are clearly spelled out. Don’t perpetrate multiple serious offences if you don’t want to be locked up for a long time. If the three strike law impinges civil liberties, then surely you should be more concerned with preventive detention which offers an essentially indeterminate sentence for offences?

        I really don’t know where the opposition to this is coming from. If this law results in the worst offenders being locked up for longer. Great. It means they can’t reoffend as quickly. Are there other things the govt can do? Yep. Will this prevent the govt from doing those other things? No.

        You guys are on a hiding to nothing on this one. Goff may come out and say it’s just window dressing. That will go down very badly with the general populace. The general populace doesn’t give a f%^k if it’s 99% window dressing. They just want someone to do ‘something’.

        [lprent: Get the name right – stop referring to my partner. ]

        • felix 16.3.1.1

          …don’t see the common sense in escalating punishments for people who don’t seem to be learning from their punishments and can’t seem to stop committing serious sexual and violence crime against the general population.

          Escalating punishments for repeat offending?

          In what sense do you think this doesn’t happen now?

        • Rob Carr 16.3.1.2

          EFA was criticised as an attack on democracy quite strongly by some. Myself I consider it poorly written but a necessary step to preserve democracy by preventing corruption. I certainly leave it open for others to consider it an attack though based on the balance they put on its strengths and weaknesses.

          The fact is 3-strikes will lead to unnecessary long sentences. The figures show that giving people sentences longer than needed actually increases crime rates. It creates a sense of me vs the state in people who are treated that way which makes them no longer feel guilty for offending as they have been treated unfairly and thus become victims in their own mind. I personally think laws like this that increase penalties increase crime rates or at least re-offending rates.

          The removal of the parole board for 2nd and 3rd strike will also mean these people will have no reintegration into the community. Most prisoners who are released early continue then with community sentences and are regularly monitored. Now people will serve a longer sentence in a facility filled only with other criminals and then be released immediately after completely free in the community. Sure to increase crime rates for those on the second strike.

          As for civil liberties and the rule of law. Just because someone is warned in advance doesn’t make it fair. If you could be executed for littering do you think that would impinge civil liberties? Clearly yes. Being warned in advance is not a sensible way of doing this especially because most criminals aren’t the type to sit around reading statute books to work out what their penalties would be. Most people thoughts on how harsh sentences will be is based purely on how bad they think a crime is. It is also a fairly large attack on the principle of double-jeopardy and rule of law whereby people are only punished for the same crime once. In fact it completely disregards it.

          There is also no proof these people are the worst offenders out there. Violent crimes over 5 years imprisonment can actually include some relatively “minor” crimes. Certainly not things that would deserve the massive parole free sentences people will now receive.

          It is not window dressing it is harmful to the adequate protection of society from crime and a mass maltreatment of the rights of criminals.

          If our parole boards are getting it wrong then we need to address that problem not remove them from the equation for later crimes. By simply removing people from their jurisdiction rather than fixing them parole boards will only get worse with time as they are neglected.

    • roger nome 16.4

      J Mex – problem is, the people who have devoted their lives to studying the area usually agree with what the left has to say – whereas the right just appeals to ancient prejudices. that’s the difference.

  17. gomango 17

    Marty, I’m not claiming the three strikes law will reduce crime. Why whenever someone points out a flaw in your logic you immediately assume that person is arguing the counter factual?

    My point was simply that you claim the three strikes law will not reduce crime because overall crime has some degree of correlation with unemployment. Your graph doesn’t have anything at all to do with your hypothesis as in your hypothesis you are testing violent crime, but in your analysis you are testing overall crime. That would be a fail in NCEA level 1 statistics let alone anything in the real world.

    But yes if you shout loud enough and forget about building a logical argument you will win the argument (at least in your own mind.)

    anti-spam word = obviously, ironic given you obviously don’t understand how to test a null hypothesis

    • Bright Red 17.1

      “I’m not claiming the three strikes law will reduce crime”

      then what’s the point of it?

      And all your mates, including Crusher (how many cars crushed so far?), are claiming it will reduce crime by being a deterrent and by ‘keeping crims off the streets’

  18. Tanya 18

    Does any one here ever think of the victims? The victims of career crims and violent thugs who don’t give a monkey’s? Don’t do the crime, you won’t do the time, simple. Why do socialists love crime so very much?

    • vto 18.1

      And why does everyone seem to think this policy is about reducing crime? It is in fact about protecting innocent people from violent people. Other policies can deal with the reducing crime issue. Protection of the people is the main plank of a criminal justice system.

      • Rob Carr 18.1.1

        How are they being protected if it is not reducing crime. They are being protected from criminals being able to do legal things?

        • vto 18.1.1.1

          rob carr, sheesh. This is about consequences after the event isn’t it. Someone is a danger to the public because of acts committed against the public, the result being they dont get amongst the public again.

          But sure, to be pedantic, once they are stuck inside crime reduces. Well done.

      • felix 18.1.2

        Ah, so it’s about protecting people from violence but not from crime.

        Very good, vto.

        Apparently there’s a whole category of violence which none of us have been aware of until today but we need protecting from it and the worst part is it’s perfectly legal.

        Please do tell us more, vto. I’m fascinated.

        • vto 18.1.2.1

          Not sure what fascinates you felix.

          Surely you dont think that I refer to violence and not violent crime. They are one and the same. Did I really need to spell that out?

          The workings of your mind would appear to be the fascination..

          • felix 18.1.2.1.1

            Your words:

            And why does everyone seem to think this policy is about reducing crime? It is in fact about protecting innocent people from violent people.

            You appear to have a major disconnect around this area v.

            What do you think this will protect people from if not crime?

            • vto 18.1.2.1.1.1

              Pedantry.

              This policy is about protecting innocent people from violent people.

              Or, if it makes you feel better – this policy is about protecting innocent people from violent crime.

              Perhaps felix you could explain the difference?

              • felix

                Not pedantry at all. You said it wasn’t about reducing crime.

                I think you were telling the truth.

    • Oh Tania great logic you are really thinking, let me ask you this, why do capitalist like white collar criminals and greed so much?

    • roger nome 18.3

      cause and effect Tanya. Why do people resort to cannibalism when they’re starving? must mean they’re evil huh?

    • Macro 18.4

      Tanya, If you are going to be put away for life – what is there to loose? Kill as many as you can! Make your crime as bad as you can – you know that there is not mitigation. This stupid law will only create more victims.

  19. todd 19

    Yeah Tanya.I think until one has been a victom of crime (three times for me)you dont get an appriciation of just how some of these thugs live life.
    Its like the stupid bloody councillors from Wanganui going to have a cup of tea with the Hells Angels,what complete retards they will come back saying what a nice bunch of guys just happen to own bikes thats all.But next time out they could rape one of the councillors own daughters and not even give a shit.Stupid.stupid people.

  20. gomango 20

    I’ve never, ever claimed the three strikes law will reduce crime, my main point was that Marty’s sloppy stats work is embarrassing. The best I would accept that this law will do is keep a small number of very bad offenders off the street. Thats a good thing, though whether its the most cost effective way to do so is arguable. But on the other hand it is hard to argue with the emotive impact of a mother who says “if the three strikes law had been in place, X would not have murdered my child, because X would have been in jail.”

    FWIW, it is quite apparent from global experience that heavier sentences typically don’t act as a deterrent – most violent crime is either a) not pre-meditated, b) the result of mental illness, or c) the perpetrator believes he will get away with it, therefore deterrence is not part of the decision process. But heavier sentences do make it hard for a particular individual to reoffend against the public. But then you have to factor in the unintended consequences – if you are going down for a minor crime why not do a major as the penalties are the same or do you create a larger timebomb in 25 years as opposed to smaller one in 5 years.

    And where do you get “all your mates, including Crusher” from? I’ve never believed that was a sensible policy – too easy to work around, too hard to implement, that one is pure politics for the elderly deluded who would otherwise vote for the reincarnation of the corrupt one.

    You assume I’m a hard core right wing idealogue? More like a rationalist – and most rationalists end up as social liberals/economic conservatives. I like to believe my opinions are not ideological but rather based on data, statistics and economics which is my training.

    • J Mex 20.1

      therefore deterrence is not part of the decision process

      Actually, nearly every criminologist will tell you that deterrence IS a big part of the decision process. It is, however, factored against chance of being caught.

      A person may very well chose to commit a crime that carries a heavy punishment but has a very small chance of getting caught but not choose to commit a crime that carries a small punishment and very high chance of getting caught.

      This stuff is common sense, we weigh these up every day with parking, speeding, and skiving off work, but form some reason people seem to forget that these factors go hand in hand in crimjnal justice arguments.

      Crimes of passion etc are some of the few one where these bear almost no relation to the commission of an offence.

      • Bright Red 20.1.1

        “Crimes of passion etc are some of the few one where these bear almost no relation to the commission of an offence”

        And most violent crime is ‘crime of passion’ or committed under the influence. So deterrence doesn’t work there.

        Of course rational people can be deterred from an action if they are made aware of high costs resulting from that action but deterrence doesn’t work because most serious crimes are not commited by people in a rational state of mind.

        Moreover, people do not know the odds of being caught or the punishment they will likely get if caught, so are likely to discount them heavily, not to mention time-discounting > get whatever benefits you do now from the crime in exchange for unknown punishment if you get caught at some time that is likely to be far in the future by the time you get caught and the trail is held.

        • J Mex 20.1.1.1

          Congratulations Bright Red, you are now arguing against almost everything that sociologists have learnt to date about reward and punishment. You need to publish. Seriously. This could be one of those “the Earth is not flat moments”. You’ll be a revelation.

          If we reduced the punishment for murder, pedophilia (pick any crime you like here) to a $20 fine, would murders, incidence of pedophilia (or your chosen crime) increase? I’m picking yes. Your reasoning seems to suggest you would pick no.

          If we used some sort of gps monitoring sytem for every car in NZ that would automatically fine you for speeding, would speeding decrease? Yes. What about if we increased the punishment for rape to physical castration.

          I would argue (and I expect that most rational thinking people would agree) that if you could study a continum of severity of punishment and chance of getting caught, you would have a strong correlation. The AMAZING thing, is that there are people on this site that will argue that the incidence of serious crime is highly correlated to “employment”, but NOT to “punishment” or “enforcement”. That blows my mind.

          Do anyone you seriously believe that a country with full employment, but no punishment for crime would have very little crime? Hands up.

          People respond to incentives. Everyone knows this. 5 year olds know this. In fact, (and this is not an ad hominem attack) the average 5 year old might have an understanding of human nature in regards to reward and punishment than you do Bright Red.

          I give up. I really belive that political blogs are such a waste of time. They serve a purpose to make like minded individuals feel good about themselves, but not much else. This blog (reverse for others) is: National/Act does it = bad, Labour/Greens do it = good. Maori party/NZ First = depends who they are supporting, United = Ignore (O.K, This one is fair enough).

          People will actually argue against a reality that they can observe, as long as it means they get to keep the reality they created. I should have learnt my lesson and stopped commenting on blogs after the Hone/Racism debacle.

          This quote sums up my feelings and applies in equal measure to posters and commenters on here, Whaleoil, etc etc

          “‘Have you ever argued with a member of the Flat Earth Society?’ a self-help guru named Ross Jeffries once asked me. ‘It’s completely futile, because fundamentally they don’t care if something is true or false. To them, the measure of truth is how important it makes them feel. If telling the truth makes them feel important, then it’s true. If telling the truth makes them feel ashamed and small, then it’s false.’ My experience on my trip has borne this out. On the list of qualities necessary to humans trying to make out way through life, truth scores fairly low…in the end, feeling alive is more important than telling the truth….We are instruments for feeling, faith, energy, emotion, significance, belief, but not really truth.” Louis Theroux – The Call of the Weird: Encounters with Survivalists, Porn Stars, Alien Killers, and Ike Turner

      • Rob Carr 20.1.2

        Sorry but criminology holds whether an offence is criminal or not acts as a deterrent. Length of sentence is not significant as a cause of deterrence.

    • roger nome 20.2

      gomango

      “Thats a good thing, though whether its the most cost effective way to do so is arguable.”

      i’d say it’s blatantly obviously not. kids who grow up in poverty look for self-esteem by idolising gangster rappers who glorify crime and violence. it’s taking power when you have none. basic human psychology. lack of power=depression, people don’t want to be depressed so they look for a way to get power and respect = crime.

      but most Lilly white rightists won’t get this at all.

  21. Hymn @ Himself 21

    Well guys, two let-offs and then toss the key away.. for vciolent crims once this goes through.. Soft, that’s what it is, you want the truth.

    Those warnings (from the bench) will have hardened crims taking bets after the first.

    Sure, I buy the idea of legislators “sending a message” but only to those listening, capable of taking it in and beginning act responsibly.

    Otherwise this scheme is a bet—listening to Mr. Garrett this morning kinda pointed this out. California is not kiwi, so the polly projections are conjecture..

    What might have been worth hearing was an honest counter-call that if this didn’t work Mr Garrett would be among the first to admit it and step up..

    • Bright Red 21.1

      Garrett will be long gone from Parliament before we see any results positive or negative of this law.

  22. roger nome 22

    Another great post Marty. just thought i’d add that the correlation doesn’t just work for NZ over time, but across geographical space as well (if you can accept that countries with higher income inequality are going to have more unemployed, and a higher imprisonment rate is correlated with a higher crime rate).

    http://rogernome.blogspot.com/2007/11/link-between-imprisonment-rates-and.html

  23. RedBack 23

    Sorry I’ve come into this one quite late. Great post Marty. 3 strikes has got to be one of the most dumb ass things ever gone through parliament (apart from Hide himself). I hate to echo what others on here have said but here goes anyway…surely the monumental waste of money this is going to cost would be far better spent on early intervention and just maybe instead of the ACT nutters villifying everyone who works for CYFS and other social services perhaps getting off their chuffs and lobbying for more funding and support for those services rather than just putting out this socially useless turd of a policy. Why can’t knee jerk kn0b head businessmen like Hide stay out of politics and just do what they’re good at which is looking after themselves and their short term profit margin. Leave to the country to be run by those who actaully give a toss about fellow kiwis and who have a slightly firmer grasp on how society works. I can’t for second believe that the moderate wing of the Nats (I’m sure there is one) are at all happy with this. A saying comes to mind that has probably already been thrown around on this issue. Something about ambulances… and cliffs……. (apologies for the exasperated rant).

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