We were, um, graced with the presence of ACT MP David Garrett on The Standard yesterday. Last time we saw him, Garrett was proposing sterilising the poor. Today, he was trying to defend the 3 strikes policy, which should really be renamed the murder increase law in light of the secret advice the Government received from the Ministry of Justice.
Here is what Garrett had to say:
Only one problem with the comments on this .the FACTS derived from 16 years experience in California where the law is much stricter as Graeme Edgeler has pointed out.
FACT: Homicides decreased from 4,095 in 1993, the year before “three strikes” to 2,392 in 2002 (Source: CA Dept of Justice and CA Dept. of Corrections)
FACT: The population of California increased by about 25% during that period (it is difficult to estimate accurately because of the high number of illegal aliens in the State) which means the reduction is more than 60% rather than the 50% approximately the raw figures would indicate.
FACT: Homicides of Police have remained essentially static between 1986 (6) and 2001 (6) with a high of 10 in 1995. (Source: Homicide in California 1986-2001.
My response in the comments:
FACT: Official advise from the Ministry of Justice delivered to Simon Power on the 16th of December last year said that three strikes in the States may have increased homicides and that finding is applicable to New Zealand’s 3 strikes
FACT: Justice was prevented from submitting to the select committee on a law it will have to administer. Unheard of. (perhaps, you can tell us more, Mr Garrett)
FACT: After receiving this paper, Simon Power ceased to be lead minister on the legislation even though it’s his ministry. (I know you know something about that Mr Garrett).
QUESTION: How long have you known that the official advice is that the 3 strikes law may increase the homicide rate?
QUESTION: When were you planning to tell New Zealand?
FACT: In Mexico homicides decreased from a high of 17 per 100,000 in 1997 to less than 10 per 100,000 in 2007.
FACT: Mexico has no Three Strikes law.
FACT: Much of the crime in California and Mexico is drug and gang related, and a lot of factors have been in play to reduce this kind of crime.
FACT: Trying to draw conclusions out of raw numbers from California is simplistic nonsense, the official advice provided to government didn’t fall in to that ignorant trap.
And so we see something of the level of thinking that is behind this dangerous law. Garrett’s blindness to inconvenient facts is very worrying given his ideologically-driven determination to push through the 3 strikes law.
The Government has been told that 3 strikes may decrease the overall crime rate but that may be at the cost of increasing the homicide rate. The Government must be asked if that is a gamble that they are willing to take.