INDEPENDENT NEWS

Disown Duffy Demand For Young Criminals' Privacy

Published: Mon 24 Nov 2003 09:40 PM
Disown Duffy Demand For Young Criminals' Privacy
Given Ailsa Duffy QC's recent official appointment for this Government, the Justice and Police Ministers should disown her complaint about the police diversion public works scheme for young offenders - if they won't, then they are endorsing her complaint, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.
"Ms Duffy is due to report this Friday to the Chief Executive of CYFS into its handling of the phone call from Ron Burrows on 21 January 2003," Mr Franks said.
"Her attitude to publicity for young offenders doesn't bode well. If she's in the `we know best and the people shouldn't know' camp, we shouldn't hold our breath for any sunlight from her.
"Ms Duffy claims that young offenders have a `fundamental' right not to be known. This has no foundation in law, commonsense or behavioural science.
"There is no scientific evidence that lack of self-esteem is a cause of crime, or that we can rehabilitate by building it - that school of criminology always was quackery. Offenders appear to start with exaggerated notions of their own value. Pandering to their egos just feeds the problem.
"The Government's privacy and name suppression laws are perfectly designed to feed the worst character faults of young criminals. We must stop apologising for punishment. The Clean Slate Bill - to be passed before Christmas - is more wrong-headed molly-coddling.
"We will need ever-increasing official punishments if we don't restore and reinforce normal healthy social sanctions - like parental responsibility and personal shame, and concern about the reputation and feelings of one's family.
"New Zealand has spent 30 years in loopy attempts to eliminate guilt as a normal reaction to wrongdoing. Our Privacy Act is the most world's stupid in terms of trying to promise people that their reputation is their own property.
"It is contrary to the whakama focus of incentives in traditional Maori society. Avoiding being a cause for gossip and humiliation of one's family, or - better still - having to work positively for one's family and community, have been powerful forces for good in every society.
"For some absurd reason, New Zealand has decided to dispense with social sticks and rely only on carrots. Our law assures people that their misdeeds should not count against them. New Zealanders can only demand longer and tougher prison sentences when people like Ailsa Duffy QC and her Labour Minister sponsors succeed in blocking natural social sanctions for offending," Mr Franks said.

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