Simon’s semantics

Written By: - Date published: 10:11 am, May 2nd, 2008 - 16 comments
Categories: crime, national - Tags: , , ,

Never one to miss an opportunity to stir up fear over crime, Simon Power now wants us to believe that we’re less safe because of the rise of “violent offenders” being granted home detention. As is increasingly common inside his caucus, he’s hoping that we’ll overlook the detail.

The background is that in the last few years the proportion of violent, sex and drug offenders on home detention has risen from about 40 percent to about 50 percent. Simon says:

“What these numbers say is that increasingly people who are charged with violent offences are getting home D. That was not what was intended when the sentence was first introduced … the public were assured it was intended for those who only posed a minimal risk.”

Simon, the reason they’re on home detention is because a judge thought just that – that they don’t pose an undue risk. Are you claiming that eligibility for home detention should be based on whether a person’s crime fits within a certain category rather than on the actual risk they pose?

Sounds to me like a recipe for disaster.

16 comments on “Simon’s semantics”

  1. randal 1

    simon says anything to get a headline….

  2. AndrewE 2

    Hmm…so are you saying that having 50% of violent, sex and drug offenders on home detention does NOT increase the risk to the public?

    I think he’s sensationalising the issue quite a lot (that’s what pollies seem to do) but I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s wrong. Would you?

  3. higherstandard 3

    I might be out on my own AYB but basing eligibility for home detention on whether a person’s crime fits within a certain category as a preliminary criteria and then making a separate decision based on the risk the posed sounds to me like a reasonable idea.

    I would have no problem putting more money into corrections for those charged with murder/manslaughter, child abuse, grievous bodily harm and the like to be incarcerated for their full term and not being eligible for home detention.

  4. Steve Pierson 4

    AndrewE – ‘so are you saying that having 50% of violent, sex and drug offenders on home detention does NOT increase the risk to the public?’

    – to get home detention the experts, ie the Courts, have to decide you’re not a risk to the public. If the rules were wrong, you might argue they need to be changed but you’re arguing the Courts are making the wrong decision using the right rules. I don’t question hs’s medical decisions, seems arrogant to second guess the Courts.

  5. Joker 5

    It’s not arogant to second guess the courts when they have a track record of making errors that have had horrendous concequences for members of the NZ public. Just like it wouldnt be arrogant to question medical decisions if there was a clear pattern of people dying.

    Raising these issues is how flawed rules get changed.

  6. AndrewE 6

    I don’t know about it being arrogant to suggest that having 50% of violent, sex and drug offenders in home detention means we may have an increased risk of these types of offences occuring.

    It seems reasonable and straightforward to me.

  7. all_your_base 7

    AndrewE – a) he doesn’t say “may” as you do. b) he doesn’t present any evidence to suggest that the current situation is a problem, ie more dangerous. In fact the response from Goff was that the compliance rate of well above 90% showed that the current system was generally working well.

    I think we deserve more than fearmongering.

    Power’s suggestion that we should prevent anyone convicted of a “violent offence” – regardless of their assessed risk to the community – from being considered for home detention just seems terribly backward to me.

  8. Steve Pierson 8

    but the current rules are based on an assessment of risk to the community – if they’re risky they don’t get Home D. Simon Power wants that changed to an arbitary rule based on the type of offence they’re charged with. If we’re trying to avoid risk shouldn’t the measure be risk, not some legal catagorisation of a past event?

  9. Stephen 9

    I might be wrong, but under Power’s proposal, one could have a history of violent offences, but get put in jail for shoplifting…shoplifting not in Power’s arbitrary categories, person eventually gets put on home detention, and then goes and assaults someone. Great!

  10. randal 10

    stephen you get an f for logic!

  11. Stephen 11


  12. Stephen 12

    should that have been ‘bugger’

  13. Simple Simon is a lawyer trained in adversarial tactics for effect.
    Simple Simon says lock them all up. The lawyers love wholesale criminality. How else can they afford to fuel the beamer !

  14. Stephen 14

    lol stretching a long bow…but good point.

  15. Hillary 15

    Powers seems to want to see more offenders incarcerated. Trouble is, it is very expensive to keep people in prison. How would National accommodate increased prisoner numbers – would they just overcrowd existing prisons? What impact would having more people in prison have on rehabilitation and recidivism rates?

    Why, oh why do the punters seem to buy Power’s nonsense?

  16. randal 16

    because the right wing press keep telling only his half of the story

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