INDEPENDENT NEWS

What Does The Government Think Punishment Is For?

Published: Fri 20 Oct 2000 02:25 PM
From its musing on home detention, parole, and work release this Government seems to believe the purpose of punishment is to meet the ‘needs’ of criminals. Secondary to their ‘needs’ is acknowledgement that the public has some interest in being protected from criminals, ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks said.
“What about deterrence and retribution? Has it become politically incorrect for punishment to punish? How can a victim see justice through vain ‘counselling’ and ‘programmes’ instead of punishment? There is no robust international evidence that rehabilitation is a realistic expectation of a criminal justice system, though we all devoutly wish that it were so.
“There is very strong international evidence that crime goes down as you increase the ‘expected cost’ of a crime. Crime drops when you increase the likelihood of detection, conviction and sentence to imprisonment of a kind feared by criminals. US crime figures are down to levels last seen in the 1960s.
“Instead, our Corrections Department tells criminals that we plan to be even more solicitous of their interests.
“Of course we have a high imprisonment rate when officials and ministers are telling criminals that our main concern is their needs. That says that we rate the women they rape and the families of those robbed or murdered, below the interests of politicians in feeling good about their compassionate image.
“There is no justice in such a system,” Mr Franks said.
END
For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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