A few days ago, I noticed an article on Stuff on three strikes. It started rationally.
The “three-strikes legislation”, which passed into law in June 2010 after a push from then-ACT politician David Garrett, gives people who commit violent offences “strikes” when they plead or are found guilty.
A first strike serves as a warning, and a second strike requires an offender to serve their sentence without parole.
Someone who gets a third strike must serve the maximum sentence possible without parole, unless the court considers it would be manifestly unjust.
Nationally, 5378 first strikes and 76 second strikes have been given, but no third strikes.
So the legislation has been in for about 5 years. Nothing surprising about those figures when you consider what the legislation did. The clearly stated intent in parliament on the legislation (see Andrew Geddis looking at decisions on it) was to both act as a deterrent and to lock up persistent violent offenders away from the public.
But then the article starts quoting form the loopy and illiterates of Act and their associated nutters like the misnamed “Sensible sentencing trust”.
Garrett, now the Sensible Sentencing Trust’s spokesman on the legislation, said the number of second strikers – a little more than 1 per cent of first strikes – was “surprisingly low”.
“[The trust] believe that the very low numbers of second strikers is conclusive evidence that three-strikes is an effective deterrent which helps protect the public from the habitual violent offender.”
Any critics of the legislation should “look at the results”, as it was designed to prevent repeat violent offending and act as a deterrent.
“We believe the law is achieving both of its aims in spades.”
What in the hell is this dickhead David Garret on? Concentrated right wing stupidity? Or can’t he even count? Or doesn’t he understand how the court system works?
This is only FIVE years! Consider the offences covered in the legislation
There are 40 qualifying offences comprising all major violent and sexual offences with a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment or more, including murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, sexual violation, abduction, kidnapping, and aggravated robbery.
Most of these carry lengthy prison sentences that are unlikely to avoid some prison time.
They are also largely offences for our overloaded high courts. The last time I looked, the delay for a jury trial in the high court was something like 16 months. And that was before this government really started increasing their workload with dumbarse legislation like 3 strikes, cost cutting and increasing the complexity of the sentencing issues.
By the time you factor in court time, prison time, and the time for recidivists to get caught again the only thing I’m surprised about is that there were 76 people being given a second strike. There simply isn’t enough time for many with these types of serious offences to go through the justice system.
So why is having a spokesperson for a fringe nutter organisation of interest?
Well David Garret was also the lawyer/Act MP who pushed the 3 strikes legislation through the house is apparently being a innumerate at maths and time calculations as he is at declaring previous sentences. He had to leave Act and parliament after not disclosing his fiddling a dead child’s identity and previous offences.
Well he wants more people for prisons.
;The trust thought people should be given a second chance before facing “the full force of the law”, he said.
“For that reason, we think the concept could be applied to almost all crimes.”
Garrett said he would like to see manufacturing methamphetamine included as a strikeable offence, as many violent offences had a connection with the drug.
The question I have always asked about the “Sensible sentencing trust” is just how much do they get funded directly or indirectly by the burgeoning prison industry? Otherwise it is rather hard to see why such mindless social stupidity could even be conceived. As The Economist pointed out in a recent leader on the social issues associated with human males deficiencies in the developed modern world
Policymakers also need to lend a hand, because foolish laws are making the problem worse. America reduces the supply of marriageable men by locking up millions of young males for non-violent offences and then making it hard for them to find work when they get out (in Georgia, for example, felons are barred from feeding pigs, fighting fires or working in funeral homes). A number of rich countries discourage poor people from marrying or cohabiting by cutting their benefits if they do.
But apparent numerical illiteracy is also endemic in Act. Their sole remaining MP David Seymour (ie Rimmer) said this…
ACT Party leader David Seymour said he would like to see a separate three-strikes law for burglary convictions – something the party campaigned on at the last election.
Say what? Is this an attempt to increase prison populations again. Look at California which is probably the US state that put the lowest bar for three strikes, including offences like drugs and burglary.
An example was a 1999 study, in which, pre-three strikes crime rate (1991-1993) were compared to post-three strikes crime rate (1995-1997). The dropping crime rate in California was compared directly to how severely counties enforced the three strikes law. The dropping crime rate was the same in counties with both light and harsh enforcement, sometimes being even greater in counties with lighter enforcement of the three strikes law.
A more recent study, in 2004, analyzed the effect of the legislation as a means of deterrence and incapacitation showed that the three strikes law had no significant effect on deterrence of crime.
On the obvious effects
Financially, the three-strikes law has had a strong effect in California since the cost of keeping an inmate incarcerated averages around $47,102 dollars a year. The more often the full force of the three strikes law is implemented the higher the cost for the state, which many of those opposed to the law claim could be used for other resources such as schools or even rehabilitation programs for inmates themselves.
California passed Proposition 36 in 2012, which removed lesser offences..
One impact of the approval of Proposition 36 was that the approximately 3,000 convicted felons who were as of November 2012 serving life terms under the Three Strikes law, whose third strike conviction was for a nonviolent crime, became eligible to petition the court for a new, reduced, sentence. Taxpayers could save over $100 million per year by reducing the sentences of these current prisoners and use the money to fund schools, fight crime and reduce the state’s deficit.
Yet curiously Act’s MP David Seymour seems to want to add relatively minor non-violent offenses? This from a party that started out as “Association of Citizens and Taxpayers“. They seem to show a blithe lack of concern for taxpaye money.
Perhaps we should put them in a mandatory remedial training. Or stop the investment of private prison companies in them and the “sensible sentencing trust” before these fools go and bankrupt taxpayers..