Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Very Worst

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  • DeepRed,

    As for those who wished for prisons to be privately run, they should have been careful what they wished for - they seem more 'Club Med' than under the fully state-run system.

    And am I not the only one to see a connection between the world-view of the string-em-uppers, and the world-view of the counter-jihadists and PNAC'ers? They all seem to be subsets of the newly-emerged macro-nationalism in the West which had its origins in Goldwater & Nixon. And lest anyone who shares those world-views does the kind of stuff that they think only their hated scapegoats do - Garrett, Emery, or even Breivik - well, expect them to tell us that no true Scotsman would do that.

    The world-view of McVicar and Lhaws et al seems really about keeping the proles in their place or even unperson-ing them, rather than any sense of actual justice. What would it take for the whole orthodoxy to come unstuck? An Amadou Diallo or a Trayvon Martin, maybe?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Just in passing, because this is today's thread, the BSA have issued their findings in re Francis, Gouge and Thompson and TVWorks Ltd, which relates to Alasdair Thompson and others complaining about Campbell Lives' article last year, in which he made his infamous remarks. All points of the complaint were not upheld.

    The headnote is on Scoop and the full decision is on the BSA's website

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to DeepRed,

    As for those who wished for prisons to be privately run, they should have been careful what they wished for – they seem more ‘Club Med’ than under the fully state-run system.

    Dunno about that. But word on the street is that when that dude escaped from the new Mt Eden recently, he was able to do so because the alarm system wasn't working, even though it had been signed off. I could be wrong. But you know, when you make things a matter of contract with financial penalties, then mistakes can be treated as a cost of doing business. The discipline of business is real but it doesn't necessarily align with what we want in a public service.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Ana Simkiss, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    A society of laws is supposed to act as a curb on the worse, most atavistic instincts of people like me. At least, please God, let it ever be so.

    Hear hear. The same argument needs to be made and strongly in relation to the criminal legal aid system. No you DON"T get to decide who deserves a competent and vigorous legal defence, or to complain that it costs too much to defend certain people.

    That system of checks and balances (and appeals, and people working their arses off for little reward and no prestige) is there to protect YOU.

    Freemans Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    ...am I not the only one to see a connection between the world-view of the string-em-uppers, and the world-view of the counter-jihadists and PNAC'ers?

    You are not. It's a deliberate narrative based on giving people groups to fear and despise, and then depicting government as 'protecting' them with cops, jails and troops.

    That's why, although politicians like English might be rationally attracted to reducing the jail population (reduced justice costs, crime and dependency), they fall back in the end to the jails'n'cops motif. It keeps the people from identifying their *real* enemies.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    How do they profile who sits on a parole board? That's a tough job.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    Where the concern is the high rate of imprisonment and the costs this involves - It would be good to see the figures for the nature of the crimes and the terms that were imposed in sentencing and then the actual terms served and the rate of re offending during and after parole.

    With the "worst of the worst', indefinite preventative detention seems the best option. I can't hold it against the Govt for passing retrospective legislation that removes Stewart Wilson's existing right to parole or eventual release.

    IMHO opinion the length of sentences for violent crime, murder, rape and the abuse of children seem ridiculously light in the context of the damage such crimes occasion

    Brad Callaghan’s sentence for the murder and dismemberment of Carmen Thomas seems incredibly insignificant to me.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Carmen-Thomas-murder-began-with-fight-over-son/tabid/423/articleID/248714/Default.aspx

    The running of prisons as regards "imprisonment" should be kept seperate from the programmes run for "correction" - to show how much is actually spent on "correction" and what the results are for the Tax dollars spend on correction.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1199 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    You are not. It’s a deliberate narrative based on giving people groups to fear and despise, and then depicting government as ‘protecting’ them with cops, jails and troops.

    Meanwhile, McVicar's idol has thrown his weight behind the Birther Movement, and the freakin' Feds have been breathing down his neck.

    Just as the TABOR brigade's idol is now behind bars for fraud.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to DeepRed,

    Meanwhile, McVicar's idol has thrown his weight behind the Birther Movement, and the freakin' Feds have been breathing down his neck.

    Wow.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to David Ritchie,

    Ngaio lists?

    some other pearls of Cafe Villa’s village wisdom.

    looks like they left the 'an' out of Villa...
    guess that's what happens in a rising gorge...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5061 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Unless there is someone at the Howard League who is as available and as adept at framing things in an emotionally appealing way

    Problem: Garth "Rent-a-scare-quote" McVicar is appealing to the nasty, reptilian, fearful brain. Nothing that any Howard League spokesperson has to say can appeal to the same part of the brain, it all relies on logic and reason, and consequently it will fail to gain traction for as long as populist polly tubbies are prepared to hock votes for the price of a few prison cells.

    If we could get the discussion away from fear and knee-jerk-ism and move it to evidence-based policy, HLfPR would actually have quotes that the media would use. As things stand, though, the media mostly just gets Howard League quotes as a way of inflaming the "Kill them all, and if we can't kill them then throw away the key" crowd who don't want to have facts intruding on their terrified-and-proud existence.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Ugh. That is worrying.

    Would it be more or less worrying if I said that the funded area is small and most of the interference seems to be related to image management?

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 727 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Haven't watched the video but...

    They were Republican Arizona’s golden boys, the plain-spoken, get-tough sheriff and his legal and political foil, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and attorney Andrew Thomas. According to a post at Talking Points Memo, Thomas “might have had a bright career in Arizona politics,” but instead is today facing disbarment, criminal charges and professional disgrace.

    ...the disbarment bit has happened.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to DexterX,

    IMHO opinion the length of sentences for violent crime, murder, rape and the abuse of children seem ridiculously light in the context of the damage such crimes occasion

    Brad Callaghan’s sentence for the murder and dismemberment of Carmen Thomas seems incredibly insignificant to me.

    Murder has a mandatory life sentence (including Mr Callaghan) unless the judge finds that there are significant factors mitigating against it: so far, the arguments against a life sentence have been restricted to being exercised in euthanasia cases, AFAIK.
    Callaghan's non-parole does seem light, but Venning J is a solidly respected jurist and is likely to have made the decision based on appropriate case law. The Crown can always appeal, and parole is not guaranteed in any case.

    For the rest of your list, there's always preventative detention for repeat offenders; another life sentence.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to DeepRed,

    Just as the TABOR brigade's idol is now behind bars for fraud.

    Shame that that won't stop National from pushing for something very, very similar to TABOR for local government.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    it all relies on logic and reason, and consequently it will fail to gain traction

    Hence the need for better crafted messages that engage our emotional reasoning, as with all politics. Just because it's harder to tap into people's hope, generosity and sense of community doesn't mean it is impossible. Just requires real skill and commitment that has been largely lacking in our nation for a fair few years. Thank goodness there are signs that's changing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to DeepRed,

    Meanwhile, McVicar's idol has thrown his weight behind the Birther Movement, and the freakin' Feds have been breathing down his neck.

    That's amazing. What was that thing about power and corruption again? Wow, indeed.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    If we could get the discussion away from fear and knee-jerk-ism and move it to evidence-based policy, HLfPR would actually have quotes that the media would use.

    I know of one… "attacking the symptom".

    and consequently it will fail to gain traction for as long as populist polly tubbies are prepared to hock votes for the price of a few prison cells.

    Such ‘populist polly tubbies’ also rely on filtering their bigotry through propaganda machinery, smoke & mirrors, and suits & ties, because they know that playing their cards with an open hand is a losing hand. At least the Kyle Chapmans and al-Qaedas of this world don’t pretend to hide their agenda.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    13 years is a long time to spend in prison.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1376 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    13 years is a long time to spend in prison.

    It’s also the minimum length of time he will spend in prison.

    David Tamihere is a great example. Minimum non-parole in 1990 was 10 years. He did over 20 because he refuses to confess to a crime that it’s very doubtful he committed. Whatever the failings of our penal system, and it has many, automatic parole for people on life sentences is not one of them.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    It was by no means a perfect policy in planning nor execution, but NYC crime rates actually dropped.

    I read some debate around whether it was this or other effects causing the crime rate drop. For example one of the authors of the Freakanomics series says they can show that the drop was actually due to the legalisation of abortions, fewer unwanted/unloved/uncontrolled kids running around getting into crime. From memory the analysis was along the lines of the fact that other states without broken window approaches saw similar and correlated decreases in crime rates to NY.

    I know no more about it other than what I read in the book, so it might be that their figures didn't stack up, but it's any interesting theory anyway.

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 148 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Andrew C,

    For example one of the authors of the Freakanomics series says they can show that the drop was actually due to the legalisation of abortions, fewer unwanted/unloved/uncontrolled kids running around getting into crime.

    Another factor was the economic recovery around that time as well. Also, irrespective of its pluses and minuses, the Broken Windows policy did go some way to avoid attacking the symptom – duty cops on the beat and reducing the risk of vandalism and tagging come to mind.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to DeepRed,

    Another factor was the economic recovery around that time as well.

    Economic circumstances don't seem to be so much a factor. US crime rates continued to decline in 2009 & 2010, even though unemployment soared.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Demographic drivers have been mentioned hereabouts before too. Reported/punished crime still a young men's game. Older ones run finance scams.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sacha,

    Older ones run finance scams.

    And get pitiful community work sentences as a “punishment”. Anyone who outright stole millions of dollars from a bank would be doing hard time, and rightly so, but destroy the life savings of thousands and you’re on gardening duty for a few months.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

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