- Date published:
10:29 am, September 1st, 2018 - 30 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, crime, journalism, Media, national, newspapers, prisons, same old national, Simon Bridges, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: david fisher, three strikes
I thought this might be an occasional post to point out the weird and strange things that Simon Bridges says. I did not think that I would put up two posts in a week.
This one is all about the Criminal Justice system. Labour is grappling with making fundamental changes to reverse our appalling incarceration rates. But National still want to play politics with the issue. And trot out the good old lauranorda dog whistle.
Although a week ago there were signs that National may be backing away from the three strikes law.
Ten days ago David Fisher at the Herald published this:
National leader Simon Bridges has shifted on his refusal to consider changes to the Three Strikes law after it emerged the country’s most dangerous criminals are being released without access to programmes considered critical to stopping further offending.
Bridges last week told the Herald the law was fit for purpose.
Today, he said consideration would be given to changing the legal tangle which blocks those with convictions for serious violence from programmes designed to stop further lawbreaking.
Bridges endorsed Three Strikes as an effective law, saying it worked to deter people from committing further crimes.
The Herald has revealed the gap in the law which meant those with Second Strike and Third Strike offences could not take part in reintegration programmes intended to ease passage back into society.
Those with Second Strike and Third Strike offences must serve either their full sentence without parole, or the maximum possible sentence without parole.
The Corrections Regulations block offenders not eligible for parole from going outside prison, meaning reintegration programmes such as release-to-work – which allows cash to be saved for release – are not available.
One hundred second strike offenders have been released since the law came in. The first Third Strike offender has just been sentenced to a maximum possible seven years after pleading guilty to stabbing someone in the leg.
Bridge said Three Strikes had worked better than envisaged.
“It has deterred people from serious crimes and seen fewer people graduate to the second and third strikes. We would rather see our worst offenders in prison and fewer victims.”
Bridges’ comments are in contrast to Ministry of Justice advice which found no evidence Three Strikes made any difference.
The criticism, that the three strikes law would make reintegration of prisoners back into society more difficult, has been repeated and repeated ever since the law was mooted. It is good that National is finally catching up.
But Fisher did something very clever. He asked Bridges to provide research that he relied on to make the claim that the Three Strikes law was working better than envisaged.
National leader Simon Bridges has provided the basis for claims the threat of prison stops crime – an unpublished study that has not been peer-reviewed that suggests the worst offenders aren’t put off by the prospect of prison.
The paper studied a mass pardon in Italy and found reoffending rates showed certain inmates were put off further offending by the prospect of prison.
The research paper was provided by Bridges after the NZ Herald asked for the evidence to support his claim the Three Strikes legislation deterred people from committing further crime.
And Fisher sets out the pesky details:
The study – Criminal Discount Factors and Deterrence – said “imprisonment does have the potential to deter crime”.
But it showed any deterrent effect was not in areas likely to impact on New Zealand’s recurring offender or prison population.
It found there was a strong potential deterrent effect on prisoners who were educated and older.
Of those in New Zealand prisons, 71 per cent of people do not have literacy levels sufficient to cope with daily tasks and 65 per cent were aged under 40.
Talk about cherry picked research. One paper
from regarding Italy that was not peer reviewed and that concluded that a three strike regime for white collar criminals might work is held up to justify a claim that the local three strikes law is working.
Andrew Little is right. We really do need a mature debate about our Criminal Justice system. Looks like the chances of this actually occurring are poor.