No doubt, there will be hollow cries of outrage from Simon Power and Sensible Sentencing over Bailey Kurariki being transferred from jail to home detention for the last months of his sentence.
Kurariki has been in jail for five years, since he was 12. His sentence expires in six months. By moving Kurariki to a community-based sentence, the authorities are allowing a period of reintegration to get underway while still having the legal power to place limits on Kurariki’s behaviour and freedom.
Some seem to think it’s sensible to keep a young man who has been in jail during his formative years locked up as long as possible, then chuck him out on the street with no period of controlled reintegration. That might satisfy some primal urge for revenge over what Kurariki did but it is stupid and short-sighted. Kurariki is going to be out in the community either way, the important things are that he does not re-offend and can start to make a positive contribution to society. If Kurariki is locked up until the end and then released without any controlled reintegration he will find himself in a situation where re-offending is very likely, controlled reintegration will lessen the risk of that.
The likes of National and Sensible Sentencing appeal to our urge for revenge but they do us a great disservice and increase the likelihood of future offending when they oppose community sentences and advocate releasing prisoners straight from jail back into the community.