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Three strikes and the max

  • January 19th, 2010

Great to hear that John Key has announced this law change. I'll pore over the detail later but congratulate National and Judith Collins for this sensible morphing of the successful Californian policy to a condition more suitable for New Zealand.

Of course the devil is all in the detail. I studied US experience closely before promoting three strikes and its the max as election policy in 2005.

I just hope it does not discredit criminal law reform through timid detail. Certainty of consequence is the secret to lowering crime rates, not severity of consequence. The detail must not let judges and Corrections interfere. It  must be clear to every recidivist offender that nothing will avert the specifiedconsequence of his third serious offence, not dopey excuses, or heart wrenching appeals to a soggy Parole Board, or even running out of money for prisons.

This announcement reminds me of the huge US success in cutting crime. Unwelcome as it may be to our defeatist criminologists the US is a wonderful source of experiments in crime control.

See the Wall Street Journal for a fascinating recent refutation of the usual handwringing about the link between poverty, recession, unemployment and crime.


  • Mike Mckee
  • January 25th, 2010
  • 10:58 pm

It’s a start.
Now we must properly resources and support the prison officers.

Also build a new 1000 bed prison on both the North and South Island for first time offenders with classrooms, trade shops and counseling facilities.

The rest have made their choice.

  • Jim Maclean
  • January 28th, 2010
  • 5:29 am

Well said Mike Mckee. I despair that politicians refuse to understand that voters like me know that locking dangerous people away has a cost, and we are prepared to pay that cost as the price of our security.
Rehab needs to be the main focus of early offenders, but once a pattern has been set then it is simply a waste of time and money. I do not want angry dangerous people put back on the street.  Trying to be "nice" to dangerous brutalised people and then hoping that they will be "nice" in return is simply unrealistic. Lock the bad guys (and girls) up until there are reeasonable grounds to believe they are no longer a danger. An 80% chance of reoffending is not reasonable grounds!

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