One of the silliest pieces of legislation passed by the last Government was the three strikes law. It started off as a private member’s bill by ACT MP David Garrett who subsequently resigned in disgrace after it was discovered that he had previously stolen the identity of a dead baby. It required that after two previous serious offences an offender received the maximum sentence for the latest offence.
Andrew Little has announced that the law is to go. From the Herald:
The three strikes law is “silly”, doesn’t work, and will be dismantled next year, Justice Minister Andrew Little says.
“It’s been on the statute books for eight years now,” Little told the Herald. “Our serious offending rate is rising, our prison population is rising. Throwing people into prison for longer and longer just isn’t working.”
However, repealing it was not in the Government’s 100-day plan.
“It will be some time next year, I imagine. It’s a silly law anyway, but I want to make sure when we do get rid of it, we can say, ‘Here is our plan to reduce serious offending rates’.”
Good job. The Act was an attempt to use a sporting concept to affect change in the justice system. As it is previous offending is considered by the courts when determining the appropriate sentence but to bind Judges is to completely usurp the sentencing process. But to take away their discretion meant that a proper consideration of what was the appropriate sentence was not allowed.
It is good to see some common sense being brought to this most political of subjects. But I am sure there will be a right wing backlash …