Joy, not anger, at effective three strikes law

Before I get into the story, check out these stats

The Sentencing and Parole Reform Act 2010, or the “three strikes act”, came into force on June 1, 2010.

It meant any offender aged 18 or over who committed one of 40 offences, including all major and sexual offences, would receive a strike on their first conviction.

A second strike would see the offender serving their full sentence without parole.

On a third strike, a judge must impose the maximum penalty.

It must be served without parole unless the court believes that would be manifestly unjust.

By the end of last month there were 2684 offenders on their first strike and 17 on their second strike.

If that doesn’t show that the law is working just fine, I don’t know what does.  Clearly, most scumbags “get the point” after their first strike.  Only 17, less than 1% of “strike” offenders are stupid enough to give it another go.

The whole point of the law was to provide a motivation mechanism, and from where I’m sitting, the motivation not to get a 3rd strike is very strong.

Right, now that’s out of the way, let’s see what the crybabies have to say.  Also remember that Labour, Greens and the Maori party were vehemently against this law.

Anger at 14-year strike 2 warning.

The controversial “three strikes” legislation has seen a young man jailed without parole and warned that if he steals another skateboard, hat or cellphone he will spend 14 years behind bars.

In issuing Elijah Akeem Whaanga, 21, his second strike, Judge Tony Adeane told the Hastings man his two “street muggings” that netted “trophies of minimal value” meant his outlook was now “bleak in the extreme”.

“When you next steal a hat or a cellphone or a jacket or a skateboard you will be sent to the High Court and there you will be sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment without parole,” Judge Adeane said.

Superb.  If that doesn’t motivate little Elijah to go on the straight and narrow, nothing will. If he is too stupid to stop, then he needs to be in jail to protect the public.

Justice Minister Judith Collins said the case showed the law was working. Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar agreed, saying the sentence of two-and-a-half years’ jail with no parole was “fantastic”.

We’re clearly on the same page here.

However.  Get your tissues ready

Victoria University criminology professor John Pratt said the case “highlighted fundamental problems” with the law.

“Was this really the type of offender that the three strikes law was meant to protect us from?”

Whaanga’s offending stretches back to 2006, including burglary, theft, resisting arrest and indecent assault. He served a short prison sentence in early 2010.

In July that year, he and an accomplice committed aggravated robbery. Whaanga punched the victim in the head multiple times before taking $68. For that he earned his first strike in December 2010 and was sentenced to jail for two years and one month.

He was freed on parole in April last year. The Parole Board said he had behaved well in prison, where he had resided in the Maori Focus Unit. He had completed a drug programme and a Maori therapeutic programme and was released on a number of conditions for six months.

Four months later he committed two aggravated robberies with two separate accomplices.

Yes John Pratt.  This is exactly the sort of person the law was meant to protect us from.  He clearly shows he’s a violent man.  And stupid to boot.  The odds are he’ll do it a third time, and then the law will do exactly what it is meant to do.  Protect the public.

Professor Warren Bucklands of Auckland University’s Faculty of Law said Whaanga’s case made a mockery of its promoters’ claim that it would target only “the worst of the worst”.

“Whaanga’s case is an inevitable consequence of the way in which the legislation was drafted and, what’s more, was known to Parliament when it was passed,” he said.

I wonder what Warren Bucklands would think if his ivory tower sanctuary was violated because it was his family that were at the receiving end of Elijah Akeem Whaanga’s stupidity.

Granted, he’s not running around raping women and then dismembering the bodies before eating them, but the law is there to protect the public, not get all teary about someone too stupid to figure out if the risk / reward ratio for his misdeeds are in fact high enough.  Elijah Akeem Whaanga has a choice now.

Rethinking Crime and Punishment spokesman Kim Workman said the public needed to think about the cost of locking someone up for 14 years for robbing a boy of a cap and a cellphone.

While some will say Whaanga will not reoffend if he knows he’s on his third strike, no one knew what he was likely to do given that about 40 per cent of young offenders had neuro-disability disorders such as foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, for which they were not tested, Workman said.

I have a solution Kim Workman:  he obviously wasn’t cuddled enough when he was growing up.  Why don’t you go live with this poor petal of a victim of society and burn some incense while chanting relaxing sounds?  I’m sure that will do it.

Labour’s justice spokesman Andrew Little said there was a concerning increase in random violence and it was clear Whaanga needed treatment.

Credit where credit is due, Little actually recognises that Elijah needs some help to avoid his third strike, and doesn’t attack the law like those academic theorists that don’t have to look the real victims in the eye and explain why Elijah Akeem Whaanga is so incredibly hard done by.

All Elijah Akeem Whaanga has to do is not offend again.

Simple enough, surely?


Source:  Stuff

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.