Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Go to jail!

I expect you've already heard about the Government's shake-up of sentencing and imprisonment. DPF has a summary of the main points, and he gives marks to each of them.

I just want to reflect on the point of a criminal justice system. What is the primary purpose of a 'corrections' system? Is to to punish? Is it to rehabilitate?

No, it is to protect the rest of us from the criminal.

And what should be the primary intention with sentencing? The sentence should ensure 1) that the rest of us are made safe from the criminal; 2) that no criminal achieves any value from his crime; and 3) as far as possible, no victim is worse off for it. Remember the victims?

Part of the motivation for the proposed changes is to fix the problem of New Zealand's overflowing prisons. However, as I said when Damien O'Connor first proposed this brave new regime, if you withdrew all offences for which there are no victims and granted those people imprisoned just for those non-offences-- ie., just for victimless crimes -- you could easily free up a large portion of the prison capacity, and then you wouldn't have to reduce sentences by 25%. And then our protection from real, dangerous criminals would be much better ensured.

UPDATE 1: Whale Oil has obtained a copy of the proposed guidelines for judges so their sentence can match the offence. Sample:
Stealing taxpayer money: What money, we just changed the law to 'validate' that.
UPDATE 2: Links to previous posts added, and text slightly revised.

LINKS: Criminal justice system - Kiwiblog (David Farrar)
Government meddles with sentencing - Whale Oil

RELATED AT 'NOT PC': Lock 'em up; free the others - Not PC (Feb, 2006)
While we're talking about rehabilitation for prisoners - Not PC (Feb 2006)
Crimes against society - Not PC (March 2006)
Prison overcrowding - Not PC (May 2005)

TAGS: Politics-NZ,

1 comment:

  1. " protect us from the criminal.."

    Straight from the CO's training course!

    "#1- To protect the public..."

    Now hy is it that the powers that be can't get their friggin' heads around that simple concept!


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