The Consequences of Repealing "Three Strikes"

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The present mess of a government is fomenting plans to dump NZ’s highly effective Three Strikes Law.  In doing so, it is going to end up taking huge political risks.  David Farrar, at Kiwiblog has pointed out the nature of the risks about to be undertaken. 

He presents three reasons why it is so politically risky, albeit an ideologically rich vein for the Left.

The first is that the Three Strikes Law has strong public support. 

The net support (support less opposition) is:

All NZers +48%
National voters +65%
NZ First voters +39%
Labour voters +38%
Green voters +16%

A second reason is that the consequences of repeal will be bloody, if not mortal for the innocents who get attacked and preyed upon by the recidivist violent criminals released back into the community.  The harm will be obvious.  The repeal, then, represents a clear and present danger to innocent people.  It is a very clear “cause and effect” situation. 

Moreover, the one’s responsible for this harm will be clearly identifiable: it will rest on the shoulders of the Minister of Justice, the Labour Party of which he is member, and all politicians who vote for repealing Three Strikes.  We will, as the saying goes, “know who you are”, and we are coming to get you via the ballot box.

The biggest problem is that if the law gets repealed, those who vote to repeal the law can be held accountable for crimes committed by second strikers released early.

With most law changes, you can’t know for certain that a law change led to that criminal being out on the streets. Changes to maximum sentences, to bail eligibility etc can’t allow you to conclude with certainity that the criminal who bashed or raped someone would have been in or out of prison before the law change. Because Judges and the Parole Board use discretion in deciding each case.

But the three strikes law is all about removing that discretion. It is about certainty. So one will be able to say “This crime would never have happened if Politician A had not voted to change the law”.  Let’s take an example. Say a second striker is given a nine year jail sentence for a rape. Under the current law they must serve the full nine years. If the law is repealed, they can be let out anytime between three years and nine years.

If they get let out after say six years and then a month later rape someone else, it will be crystal clear that the law change allowed that rape to happen. It won’t be the fault of the Parole Board. It will be the fault of the MPs who voted to repeal three strikes.  If the law is repealed, it is almost beyond doubt that some second strikers will get parole and go on to commit horrible crimes while on parole. The MPs who vote to repeal three strikes will not know what hit them when this happens.

A third reality is that repealing Three Strikes won’t achieve diddley squat in terms of reducing prison numbers–which is one of the major objectives identified by the Minister of Justice.

Another reason repealing three strikes is stupid, is because it will free up almost no prison space. First strikers do not server longer under this law – only second and third strikers. At best there are probably only 100 to 150 more people still in prison due to the three strikes law. Compare that to the almost 2,000 more due to the bail changes.

In fact as the reoffending rate of strike offences is down since the three strikes law passed, it is possible repealing the law could increase the prison population.

So in summary MPs who vote to repeal three strikes will:

Be voting against a very popular piece of legislation with both Labour and NZ First voters

  • Be making a law change that will allow victims to conclude with certainty that their assailant was only able to beat/rape them because of this law change
  • Will make almost no difference to the overall prison population
  • You would have to have an electoral death wish to vote for it.

But, despite all this, Leftist do-gooders know what’s best for us all.  The carnage they will face at the ballot box in two years time will be the appropriate form of utu.  By then the bloody consequences of letting out recidivist violent offenders early will be painted across the sky.  The electorate will, indeed, want vengeance and will know without a skerrick of doubt who is responsible and who is to blame. 
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