The Sensible Sentencing Trust has launched a campaign about name suppression and flown Derryn Hinch over to speak about the travesty that is name suppression.
I may have been convicted and in the process changed the law, but the law changed put through by Simon Power were small and more interested in stopping people like me rather than actually tightening up on suppression orders.
Derryn Hinch has gone to jail for opposing suppression orders.
Derryn Hinch wants to be able to turn on his mobile phone and see the names of all sex offenders in the neighbourhood.
The outspoken Taranaki-born broadcaster, who now leads a campaign for a public sex offenders register in Australia, has come home to launch a pre-election campaign by the Sensible Sentencing Trust to get a similar register in New Zealand.
He will take part in a trust-organised debate tomorrow against liberals Dr Gwenda Willis and Kim Workman.
Kim Workman is one of those wombles who means well but is a hopeless crim hugger that the media uses all the time to promote their crim hugging stance.
Stephen Franks gives him a right good ticking off in his latest blog post.
On Sunday afternoon I’ll be in Auckland to chair a public discussion of the secrecy that justice insiders defend so tenaciously. Derryn Hinch is the main speaker. He’s endured prison to stand up for open courts and freedom of speech.
Doing my homework, I’ve been reminded of the intellectual blindness engendered by the beliefs of well meaning people. Kim Workman is a good man. He writes thoughtfully on his blog “Smart on Crime”. The post prompted by the absurd discharge of the Maori prince is worth reading by anyone who needs to understand the criminal justice establishment. They need to feel morally superior (compassion is their claim) over the rest of us, but they acknowledge the need also for research on their side.
So how do they end up so far from reality? This well written piece shows us. The reasoning is respectable so far as it goes, but it stops well before it gets anywhere near the main issues. It misses the same point as is missed by the justice insiders generally.
It measures everything according to its potential to redeem the offender. Redemption is worth trying if it does not prejudice more necessary purposes. But the fate of particular offenders is trivial, when the proper measure of a justice system, indeed any social mechanism for inculcating and upholding norm observance, is the extent of offending overall. Recidivism rates may affect offending rates, but they are much less important than rates of recruitment to offending.
Most serial offenders and hardened criminals will never be redeemed. I’d like to see Kim Workman offer to take in some of these scum into his own home if he thinks they can be redeemed.
I suspect he’d baulk at that suggestion.
Almost all cultures rely heavily on reputation mechanisms to discourage the establishment of such patterns. They commonly involve exacting a price over the long term from individuals, their families, and communities that harbour them. They also commonly provide well recognised paths to discharge the shame burden, to demonstrate remorse. As Kim Workman acknowledges, Maori norm enforcement relied heavily on whakaama – shame. What he does not go on to acknowledge was the extent to which shame mechanisms need practical impacts and ‘stigmatization’. They depend on tangible consequences to shameful behaviour. Whakaama (shame) becomes irrelevant and toothless when it is separated from the consequences, when the forgiveness carrots are poured out in sackloads without any sticks of ritual humiliation, group responsibility and formulaic depredaton (muru and utu)..
But well meaning ‘sickly white liberals’ (in Winston Peters’ memorable words) have gutted our law of its links with reputation sanctions. They’ve left the law struggling ineffectually to rely on formal punishments alone.
So Mr Workman, when you deplore the powerful trend toward more severity in punishments, when you rail against the lack of recognition of the truth that speed and certainty of consequence are much more important than severity in deterrence, take a look at your own responsibility. You’ve helped eliminate from our law the most powerful and speedy social sanctions of all at the critical time (in application to young people).
Rethinking Justice applauds the secrecy of our youth courts. You defend our disgraceful name suppression law. You supported the Clean Slate law. And in your blog you whine about the ordinary peoples’ rejection of the expert demand that criminal justice policy be left to experts. You exemplify the establishment’s comprehensive rejection of the reputation based natural social sanctions.
You genuinely believe you have research and reason on your side, but it is fatally limited. Your post on Paki takes the shame analysis no further than the effect of shame on rehabilitation prospects. Shame may inhibit rehabilitation for offenders outside a community with high social cohesion (i.e. where the social sanctions are presumably severe, and scope for collective redemptive support). But where is the consciousness of its importance to offending rates?
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