Guest Post – The Fight for 3 Strikes – and Kim Workman

Another in the continuing series of guest posts from David Garrett.

Today’s is about the fight to bring in three strikes and the involvement of Kim Workman in opposing that.

After the 2008 election the National Party and ACT entered into a confidence and supply agreement. In return for ACT’s support and votes, we got several undertakings from National: the top of the list was an agreement  to support ACT’s “three strikes” (3S) Bill at first reading so it could   be referred to a Select Committee for submissions and further study. Thereafter, the best we could get from them was a commitment to give full and fair consideration to the evidence we showed them, and submissions on the Bill.

It became my job to persuade the Nats to support it further. Most if not all of the leftie commentators  sneeringly predicted that the Bill would die in Select Committee and never be heard of again.  I was determined not to let that happen. Kim Workman quickly became the leading campaigner against the Bill. I was soon to find just how dishonest the left could be in trying to defeat what they  vehemently disagreed with.

Workman’s first tactic was to do exactly what had been tried – and failed – in California;  to make outlandish and ultimately totally inaccurate  predictions of  huge costs and vast increases in prisoner numbers as a result of 3S being implemented.  With hindsight, it is a little surprising that Workman didn’t  learn from the  Californian experience almost twenty years earlier.

He wasted no time  beginning his disinformation campaign. On 13 November 2008 – even before the election – he predicted that if 3S passed we would have an increase  of 7 to 10,000 prisoners “within a very short time.”  In other words, he predicted a total prisoner muster  post-3S of about 20,000.  When pressed, he later defined “a very short time” to  mean within two years of the Bill’s passing. It is pertinent to note that the second anniversary of the Bill’s passing is nigh, and far from an increase of seven or ten thousand prisoners, the prison population has fallen.

He also made the same dire predictions as had been made in California of increased offending as a result of 3S, and assaults or even murders of police officers by  “strike” offenders desperate to avoid arrest. It is fair to note that we do not yet have second strike offenders on the street who may fall into that category – we have three second strikers so far, and all three are currently in jail. That notwithstanding, there is thus far no evidence at all of any of the 900 odd first strikers killing or maiming police in order to avoid arrest for their next crime. That is no surprise, since despite the same dire predictions being made in California, homicides on police have declined  in that state since 3S was introduced.

Workman’s next tactic turned out to be a godsend. In a move  which I later understood to be an attempt to neuter the Bill completely, the Nats – or more specifically Simon Power – insisted that there be a “qualifying sentence”;  in  other words to count as a “strike”, an offender not only needed to be convicted of a  strike offence, but ALSO receive a “qualifying sentence” of five years or more in prison.

Workman quickly lept into action, making an OIA request which asked how many of the 420 persons in prison for murder at that time would have been unable to commit the offence because they were incarcerated on second strike? The answer came back…None.  Not one killer would have had two strikes in their past – most of them would have had none – if  a “strike” required a sentence of five years. It is important to note that many had dozens of convictions – just no “strikes” under the  definition Power wanted.

I already knew from my own research that a “qualifying sentence” – of whatever length – would neuter the Bill completely. Workman gleefully trumpeting the results of his OIA request  – and the leftie media equally gleefully reporting it –  made my job of convincing the Nats that a qualifying sentence was a bad idea all the easier.

Around this time, it was amusing to note in Workman’s own newsletter some bewilderment that the Nats’ support of the Bill to Select Committee but no further  had now morphed into something much more. It was around this time that those opposing 3S really pulled out the stops, and began lying in earnest.

The Howard League for Penal Reform imported a prison chaplain from California to talk up the evils of 3S – without bothering to mention that the New Zealand version was very different from that of California’s, and the horror stories of felons going to jail for life for minor thefts simply could not happen here. At a series of meetings around the country, the prison chaplain – a Rev. Ron Givens – told outright lies, such as that the decline in crime in California had begun in 1986, seven years before 3S was passed.  A simple look at the graphs of offending derived from California Justice Department figures showed this to be utter crap – crime peaked in the state in  1991, and rapidly decreased after 1993, when 3S was passed.

Lately, Workman has acknowledged that both offending and prisoner numbers have fallen, despite his dire predictions to the contrary two or three years ago. Has he ever acknowledged he was wrong, or admitted that he simply made numbers up? No prizes for guessing the answer.

Now he has changed tack again – ironically also using failed tactics from California. According to Workman – and sadly certain weasels even within the National government – crime was actually falling anyway prior to  2008, and 3S has nothing to do with it. They should go back and read their own contemporary  press releases and campaign material. I have.

Next: Correlation and causation – sentence enhancement and offending

 


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  • Even as an opponent of the three strikes law, the arguments arrayed against it annoyed me greatly.

    • Sarrs

      It always annoys me when a side tries to use emotive/distorted evidence when they have perfectly acceptable empirical or fact based evidence on which to establish their argument. It’s an insult to the intelligence of the public when arguments/debates are dumbed down.

      • you mean like claiming an international trend is down to something they did..?

        ..just ignoring that howling-siren piece of empirical-evidence..?

        ..and using  ’emotive/distorted evidence’ to push their own agenda..?

        ..yeah..that both sucks and blows…

        ..and they really insult the intelligence of their readers/listeners..eh..?.

        ..by expecting them just to also ignore that ‘howling-siren’..

        …and to just swallow their bullshit..

        [email protected]

      • Philip ure a cock

        A bit like Labour claiming those 9 years of economic growth in the 00’s were down to their skilled management of the economy eh Philup…
        …eh…
        …eh…ure a cock, such a fucking cock!

      • Magoo

         @ Phillip:

         You sound lie you’re talking about the blatant & obvious flaws in the failed anthropogenic climate change hypothesis. Perhaps there’s hope for you yet.

  • David Garrett

     And I hope I don’t sound like a tosser Graeme (no, no need to bother Ure, we know what you think) I was always happy to engage with opponents like you…as I think you know…in fact as I recall, didn’t you suggest an amendment which made perfect sense to me, and which we eventually got in it?

  • David Garrett

    You are a complete drugged out fuck Ure..have you not noticed you are considered to be a joke wherever you are? Except Natrad, which is is bloody odd, and disturbing, since as you note, I am a regular listener to Geoff and …whose the guy in the afternoon? Jim?

    •  it’s amazing you got so far..garrett..

      ..having the basic literacy/comprehension issues you have..

      ..was it a combination of luck and timing..?

      ..or someone you knew..?

      ..what else could explain it..?

      [email protected]

  • Kim Workman

    Last  Saturday night I
    received the latest of a number of letters from David Garrett, in which he set
    out his intentions toward me.    His version of the three strikes debacle and
    my involvement in it is part of his letter writing campaign. It all happened
    three years ago, and most of us have moved on. But just in case anyone is
    interested in what really happened, they can read about it at   http://www.rethinking.org.nz/assets/GeneralPDF/The_Three_Strikes_Sting.pdf.  The article was published at the time
    it was written; 16 April 2009. 

    • starboard

      you’ve created enough damage over the years Mr Workman with your psyco babble and criminal hugging ..how about you retire quitely away somewhere.

      • dad4justice

        Well said starboard creeps like Workman are why the Department of Corrections is a sick -sad joke.

    • David Garrett

       Still lyiing Kim…and not too subtly trying to suggest that I sent you more than one e-mail when I was pissed…I sent you ONE e-mail only, telling you I was was back, and that I was going to destroy your credibility…I shall forward that e-mail to  Cam Slater, and leave it up to him whether to publish it or not…you are a liar and a fraud…

    • Peter Jenkins

       Had a read of that, interesting. It appears that the finalised version of the law is a compromise between what the Trust originally proposed and the revised third version described, i.e. the qualifying offence which doesn’t result in a sentence of 5 or more years provision was struck out as per David’s original article above, which is just as well. As a result what we have does remove the worst psychopaths from circulation but without the inefficiencies and downfalls of the original California law

      As to Kim’s reference to the lack of updates on the Trust site on the legislation, as he described it;
      “Sensible Sentencing Trust has also been unusually silent on the new legislation. Its
      website does not mention the new legislation, or its support for it. Instead, its web page
      on ‘three strikes’ has been caught in a time warp.”  …. as the webmaster I can explain exactly what was happening at that time and why. As it went through the process of morphing from a Bill into a piece of active legislation it was in a state of constant flux, and I wasn’t always in the loop as to its current state. In addition I was also preoccupied with maintenance of the Offender databases on the site which are enormously time consuming, so updating this page got put on the back burner. The Trust’s three strikes page has since been updated, I finally got it done :-)

      Regards
      Peter J
      see http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

  • Jimmy

    Phillip ure…..please go find a torrent of previous Beavis  & Butthead episodes and put them on auto-replay and plonk your damaged sack of cerebral cells in front and don’t move.  You seem to be the third dick-wad missing from that duo.  He said “pissed” Butthead huh huh huh…….Beavis, Beavis he said “dill-weed”……..huh huh huh huh huh

    •  you appear to have missed the actual funny-trigger there…jim..

      ..but that’s not yr fault..

      ..you’re a rightwinger…

      ..and as such burdened with that standard rightwing sense-of-humour byepass at birth…

      ..eh..?

      …that’s yr burden to bear..

      ..you have my sympathy…

      [email protected]

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