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Kerre Woodham on three strikes law

Written By: - Date published: 1:12 pm, May 31st, 2010 - 37 comments
Categories: articles, crime, Media, Social issues - Tags: , , ,

Kerre Woodham’s just penned an endorsement of the three strikes act.

She admits that it probably won’t do what it sets out to do. She accepts that it might be unjust. She understands that it will be expensive. Nevertheless she supports it. Why?


After years of doing talkback, I get the sense that a lot of people have had a gutsful of violent crims. There’s a sense that the courts are treating offenders lightly and criminals are roaming the streets, in an anarchic fashion, without fear of consequences.

Law-abiding members of the community have felt frustrated and powerless for some time but with the passing of the bill, there’s a feeling that the something in the phrase “something needs to be done” is actually happening.

Kerre, are you really suggesting that it’s the bigoted sewer of talkback radio that should now serve as the incubator of justice policy? Really?

This is an unjust law that wastes money and doesn’t fix the problem. You’ve said as much. It’s justice quackery. It diverts us from the real issues and provides an excuse for avoiding the hard work required to produce genuinely effective justice policy and winning the debate about the kind of safe, supportive, just society that will be better for all of us.

We’re all familiar with the frustrations and anger of the community over crime – but the answer isn’t to endorse a lynch mob.

As Atticus Finch put it, “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience”.

I don’t care what talkback radio says. We can, and should, do better.

37 comments on “Kerre Woodham on three strikes law ”

  1. Tigger 1

    Nicely put Base, hard to fathom someone cheerleading papering over a problem with some ineffective legislation…especially when they know it’s mere wallpaper.

    Laws runs a similar line, apparently so long as people have confidence in the system then crime will go down? http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/opinion/3754316/Bad-week-for-the-offenders-and-the-constantly-offended

  2. george 2

    Her rationale would be consistent with endorsement of public hangings.

  3. belladonna 3

    I used to listen to Kerre W some years ago until I got fed up with her asserting she was a lefty liberal until election time when she would do her best to convince her listeners to vote for the right.
    Much like Martin Crump who also maintains he is a lefty but thinks John Key is wonderful and kept saying so before the last election and is still sayihg JK is a good man. Naive or hypocritical idiots.

    • Lazy Susan 3.1

      “Lefty liberal” and SpewsTalk ZB are like oil and water – you can try and mix them but they quickly seperate.

      I challenge anyone to name a presenter on that station left of centre. It’s Faux News without the pictures.

      • sweetd 3.1.1

        It caters to its audience; without govt handouts. It would be very interesting to see how long Radio NZ would last, or last in its present state without govt handouts.

        • Lazy Susan

          Likewise the BBC. Good journalism costs and is important in a functioning democracy.

  4. Sanctuary 4

    She ran a marathon once, you know. She wrote a book about it that nobody read.

    I thnk most of the weight she lost for it came from her brain.

    • A Nonny Moose 4.1

      No matter what your feelings on her politics, there’s absolutely no need to bring her image or size into it. That’s typical sexist shut down method.

  5. PK 5

    ***This is an unjust law that wastes money and doesn’t fix the problem***

    Well, it depends how you define the problem. In terms of removing the threat of repeat violent offenders, it seems a crude but possibly effective instrument.

    • felix 5.1

      Except that everywhere these laws have been enacted there has been no measurable decrease in the number of violent offenders or violent offences.

      Much as you might want to believe it’s true, what you wrote is demonstrably false.

  6. ianmac 6

    Of course for years the Nacts have been pressing the publicity for violent crime as a political weapon against Labour. The MSM has been complicit in fanning those beliefs but what goes around…………. The crime figures were up for the last year and though it may not be really fair to blame Nact, they set themselves up for blame. 3 strikes as a solution and excused by the “There’s a sense that the courts are treating offenders lightly and criminals are roaming the streets, in an anarchic fashion, without fear of consequences.” There is a sense but it is largely a myth. Next years figures? Mmmm

  7. RedLogix 7

    Well the very best way to stop crime is to imprison all males between the ages of 15 and 45. That would make the streets safe at night.

  8. A Nonny Moose 8

    Next thing you know, someone will be advocating using Granny’s Your Views as scientific polls…

    …oh, wait…

  9. Roger 9

    Don’t go too hard on Kerri, I’m sure that if we all spent our evenings listening to idiots drivel on about nonsense we may start to adopt some questionable reasoning processes too. Her reasoning appears to suggest: Why bother with empirical evidence or expert advice on complicated and important issues when I have a good wooden torch and pitchfork in the closet?

  10. Sanctuary 10

    @A Nonny Moose – my comment is about how venal and brainless Woodham has become.

    Your over-reaction does however play to another stereotype – the hypersensitive and humourless feminist, who loves nothing more than a real or imagined slight to get up on her hind legs about.

    • QoT 10.1

      No, Sanctuary, your comment is about how venal and brainless Woodham has become and also about her weight. Telling someone they’re acting like a “humourless feminist” would be your second typical sexist shutdown method of the thread.

      (And please, please try to argue that you weren’t calling ANM a humourless feminist, you were just warning about falling into stereotyped behaviour! Because concern trolling would bring up the trifecta.)

  11. Rex Widerstrom 11

    Woodham has provided ample empirical evidence over many years of her inability to grasp the nuance of any issue (which seems the only prerequisite for the MSM to employ one as a commentator nowadays). Excusing her latest piece of imbecility on the basis of some sort of osmotic transfer of stupidity from caller to host is nonsense.

    When I hosted talkback I naively thought that while the average listener might be a conservative with neck aglow, they’d nonetheless engage in debate with someone with an opposing perspective. Indeed they’d gird their loins and charge into battle, happy for the chance to defend their beliefs and slaughter the enemy.

    This was in the days before blogs, of course, or I’d have worked out that for every Redbaiter – who delights in exhbiting incendiary behaviour amongst the lefties – there are hundreds of Kiwibloggers, Kiwipoliticos and others who simply want to cluster round and listen to messages from the mother ship that don’t challenge their worldview.

    The response to my attempts to engage the enemy was that I was left pretty much ranting to myself for an hour a day. I loved doing the first 3 hours of interviews (and it rated exceptionally well) but that last hour was a sort of purgatory for me and the three remaining listeners.

    So Kerre’s doing what anyone in that job whose love of being recognised in the supermarket outweighs their principle… echoing the ignorance of her audience in order to keep her paycheque.

    • frustrated 11.1

      “there are hundreds of Kiwibloggers, Kiwipoliticos and others who simply want to cluster round and listen to messages from the mother ship that don’t challenge their worldview.”

      You forgot Standadistas on that list …. too polite by far as usual Rex !

      [lprent: Not really – we pretty much ban for obnoxious or tedious behaviours – as you well know. lf you can argue, stay within the bounds and don’t attack the site or its authors personally, you can argue what you like. If you cannot then the moderators are always there to dispense our varied brands of over the top ‘justice’ to discourage repetition. ]

      • frustrated 11.1.1

        Sysop what your comment has got to do with mine is beyond me.

        • Lanthanide

          Have to agree with frustrated, your comment seems tangental at best.

          • felix

            I agree also, even though “frustrated” is just higher standard/bilbo/gargoyle/etc.

            I’ve forgotten your most recent name, hs – what was it? The one you were using when you were banned for life?

            • frustrated

              I make music and trouble, especially dub electro lo-fi rock n roll trouble.

              [lprent: You keep saying that (I thought it was friday again). Whats your issue?

              Ummm looking at the response from felix – wasn’t that the offence that I banned you for last time? We will give you a weeks ban for it on the basis that you appear to be capable of learning. If I see it again then I will put a permanent ban in place and fully enforce it. Also removing the URL on all comments. ]

              • felix

                He’s referring to me Lynn (note link in his name). Not sure why though.

                • frustrated

                  Oh and I forgot…………GET FUCKED

                  [lprent: …and another week. I’d suggest looking at your behaviour. I keep having to notice it. This type of stalking is really pretty idiotic. ]

      • Rex Widerstrom 11.1.2

        You forgot Standadistas on that list . too polite by far as usual Rex !

        Nope, they’re very amenable to my critiques of their posts and their political heroes. As, I must say, is DPF over at Kiwiblog.

        Anyway it was the commenters I was referring to frustrated, not the bloggers. And sadly there are many who want to hear only their own outlook reflected back at them. Moreso on the right than the left, though, no matter what Redbaiter may think of the “Gramascian infiltration of education” 😀

  12. tc 12

    KW’s is yet another media whore fulfilling her managements expectations of endorsing anything NACT do……the few times I’ve read her make you realise what a vacuous load of crap fill up the mediums these days.

    KW and all her media mates live in that self promotional world where they all go round telling each other how great they are and believe each others BS…..Hosking/Henry/Holmes etc being outstanding examples of arrogance personified.

  13. Sarge 13

    This highlights a problem the left has to overcome when trying to win policy battles on Law and Order. Yes, we may have evidence on our side. Yes, our approach may be cheaper and more effective in the long run. But we have to A). work out how to communicate our message in 10 second sound bites and B). come up with an effective response to “It’s about giving them what they deserve”.

  14. logie97 14

    Strange how those who have benifited from the state support systems eventually turn on other users once they have climbed a few ladders…

  15. deemac 15

    this argument can be summed up as :
    something must be done!
    THIS is something;
    therefore THIS must be done…

  16. Maggie 16

    All you need to know about the “Three Strikes” legislation is that Simon Power and the Justice Dept wanted nothing to do with it. And so legislation regarding court sentencing was left in the hands of the government department that locks people up.

  17. randal 17

    the three strikes law is just pandering to the irrational anti intelllectual elements in our society.
    something like the tea bag party in the u.s.
    it is an admission of defeat that the justice system is not working properly and that all the neoliberal do gooder accretions have only served to clog the aerteries of what was once a world class institution.
    now it is jammed up with place servers and supernumerarys looking for wages and exorbitant salaries and deliviering less and less.
    na no.
    na no.

  18. Jenny 18

    She admits that it probably won’t do what it sets out to do. She accepts that it might be unjust. She understands that it will be expensive. Nevertheless she supports it. Why?

    In the U.S. the recession, which has its roots in inequality and financial rip-offs by and for the rich and privileged, has experts questioning if this huge and sudden rise in inequality could have ties to burgeoning violent crime as the main burden of the recession falls on the less well off.

    From the Washington Post

    Though the effects of the recession have not hit New Zealand as hard as America.

    If you want to combat violent crime the message is clear. You must end poverty and inequality.

    Lengthening and increasing punishments may soothe the hang em’ high talkhate crowd Woodham is a cheerleader for. But simply ratcheting up the level of state sponsored violence in response to crime could even be more destructive by increasing the pressure cooker effect on society caused by the recession.

    After all, America, as well as having invented the ‘Three Strikes’ penalty, and as well as having the death penalty, has despite having these laws already in place seen a big rise in meaningless violent of atrocities.

    Right wing political parties have a stake in inequality so will choose the latter option over the first, even when it is proven to be inefective.
    This is why, even intelligent right wing (and well off),cheerleaders in the media, will also support it, while at the same time with a callous shrug admitting that it is probably pointless.

    What Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says about right wing politicians who support ‘Three Strikes’ could also apply to talk back hosts.

    And when politicians talk about a safe society, let me ask this question – what about the next generation who have to grow up with the children of those who have been jailed for life, children who grow up with a deep-seated and very real hatred of society for a life below the margins that they have been forced to lead, a hatred that will be visited back upon society through ever-increasing rates of mayhem and murder.

    And that of course, will add weight to the calls for more guns for police, and that will lead to more guns for civilians, and that will lead to bigger guns for criminals … until the only question we will have left to ask ourselves will be “when did we become the southern-most state of the gun-loving USA?” because that’s the future we give ourselves with this bill.

    That is the only future of a society that treats the punishment of its members with the contempt being contemplated by this legislation, that refuses to take the steps of intelligent societies to reduce offending by reducing the causes of that offending rather than jailing offenders for life.

    Heck, even our own Ombudsman admits that “there are smarter ways than prison to prevent crime and make criminals accountable … and that prison is not the most effective or efficient approach to reducing crime.”

    Stupid right wing knee-jerk “throw away the key” reactions like ACT and National’s Three strike bill will make no impact.

    They know it, and sometimes when they are being honest, supporters of the ‘Three Strikes’, will admit it.

    It is self interest that motivates Kerre Woodham. Her choices are, support our politicians to do something she admits is pointless, or alternatively, use her position to take these same politicians to task for overseeing the increase in inequality in our society that results in more crime. Kerre Woodham knows the second alternative would see her risk her privileged job.

  19. Jason 19

    Three strikes – kind of tempted to support it IF it also covers white collar crime and fraudsters / corrupt business types etc who directly impact and ruin the lives of dozens or hundreds of people.

    Be kind of fun seeing them locked up in the same no hoper prisons as the violent crims, might even pay for itself as a reality TV program

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