The National / ACT “three strikes” policy on violent crime sentencing is the worst kind of law. It will not have the desired effect, it doesn’t address the real problem, and it has a host of unintended consequences:
Justice ministry slams three strikes changes
The Justice Ministry warned the Government against changing its three strikes violent crime policy saying it risked breaching New Zealand’s Bill of Rights and international obligations, went against the Government’s own policy on the drivers of crime and impacted on judicial powers. It also said some juries might not convict criminals, concerned by the unfair consequences if they did, and that the group worst affected would be Maori.
That’s a pretty damning summary.
As just covered by Eddie, and recently covered by Marty G, “getting tough” is not a solution for crime. It’s a knee jerk response intended to posture to the electorate, nothing more. To a large extent crime is a function of poverty. Reduce unemployment and crime will fall – as it did with near full employment under the last Labour government.
National, however, have no idea how to reduce unemployment. They also seem to have no understanding of costs and benefits. As Marty summed it up: “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.”
Three strikes is a bad policy. The Justice Ministry has set out why in detail. No wonder the Ministry was, outrageously, blocked from giving advice to the select committee. Yet another example of government by pure ideology, determined to ignore the facts…