Posts by George Darroch

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  • OnPoint: Two wallops of wonk, with a…,

    I hear that everyone other than rich white men are woefully underrepresented. Is this in fact true, and did you have to disguise yourself by donning a white hood to enter the room?

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2132 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The strange story arc,

    but surely the subject matter has nothing to do with "dramatic fiction"?

    Given that it's about the work of tabloid "news"papers, it has everything to do with dramatic fiction.

    Fictional forms infect all sorts of material for better or worse, and use the same narrative devices and characters. Some argue that we're wired that way, others simply that adapting non-fiction to these forms reads better, and others that it is just laziness on part of the author.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2132 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The strange story arc,

    Not bad coverage for a small club.

    The NZ CTU represents around 300,000 members, so it's certainly representing some people, even if it can't claim to represent all. The unions are doing ok, as well as you'd expect given the circumstances (they didn't exactly all their wishes given in the last 9 years).

    But as Graeme notes, they're well down on their heydays.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2132 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Surviving Small,

    I'm not a small business person and this doesn't normally excite my attention, but I will congratulate you for hosting this. It's just the kind of debate we need right now.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2132 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Three strikes (w/ updates),

    Well that's not true. Apart from the fact that we didn't have prisons 200 years ago.

    Prisons are very different, and in some areas NZ Corrections have programmes of international standards in terms of recidivism.

    You're right, I did overstate things a little. While prisons as an institution are largely the same, there have been efforts made at reform, some significant and some minor. Those programmes are worthwhile and have changed the prison environment somewhat, and Corrections do make use of them. Unfortunately, they're only a small part of what Corrections does.

    A large part of this is that Corrections is tragically underresourced, and putting the prison population up by 60% in just a few years has strained them and their ability to offer these programs even further. In this kind of environment, maintaining security must be their first concern, and everything else relegated.

    But it's also the fault of the "law and order" lobby, who bitterly oppose spending on such travesties, and politicians who would rather put money elsewhere. Giving prisoners decent food has been shown to radically improve behaviour, for example. But do that and you'll get even more reACTionary responses.

    And, it needs to be said, this is an issue of race. Half of NZ's prison population is Māori, who are imprisoned at almost 7 times the rate of the rest of the population. "Getting tough on criminals" means getting tough on Māori... easy to see why it's a popular game in NZ.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2132 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Three strikes (w/ updates),

    Hmmm, I must have been upset; there are grammatical mistakes all over the place above.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2132 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Three strikes (w/ updates),

    Oh, and Garrett, I'm not middle-class either. I know people who've been inside, I grew up with 3 tinny houses on my street and a gang pad around the corner. They've all gone, thankfully, because of social changes in the neighborhood.

    The people who don't know anything much about criminality or reform are the scared middle classes who fall for your bullshit. We already have the second highest imprisonment rate of any developed country in the world. Guess once you're done, we'll be best in the world at one thing...

    And yes, I'm offended by you once again scapegoating "South Auckland" as the place of criminals living in holes. Sit down with Len Brown, and actually listen to what he has to say. None of the policies you and the reACTionaries are proposing bear any resemblance to what is needed to reduce crime in Manukau.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2132 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Three strikes (w/ updates),

    Lucy Stewart illustrates the reality that by and large, the middle class don't understand that deprivation of liberty per se is NOT a great punishment for many criminals.

    David, what you're proposing is more of the same.

    That "central heating" you talk about? It doesn't make NZ prisons very warm - people already die from the cold in NZ prisons. That TV, the chance to stretch their muscles for a few minutes a day? The escape from relentless boredom, the only other alternative being to socialise and bond with criminals. For years on end.

    Yeah, make prisons colder, give inmates nothing to but talk to other criminals and form rigid gang hierarchies. Cause that works, right? There's tons and tons of evidence for it, right?

    Prisons in NZ are largely unchanged from 50, 100, or even 200 years ago. They do very little to stop reoffending, because that has never been part of their design.

    And when people, sensible people who actually give a shit about the evidence about reoffending, try and have their say about reform, they're smacked down by idiots. People like Garrett, McVicar, and Power.

    And Labour, stuffed with cowards, has participated in this auction with gusto.

    What are needed are programs that allow those convicted to realise the gravity of their crimes - those that do rarely reoffend, those that do very often do. You know what it's like to see someone whose realised what they've done. Garrett seems to think that prisons are good instruments for doing so. The truth is that in their present state they certainly aren't.

    Also needed are programs that take those convicted out of the social environment and patterns that allowed/caused their behaviour in the first place. Including things that give men their dignity back in a way that allows them to maintain a social status while abandoning the criminal things that formerly gave them that.

    But these programs have always been criticised by reACTionaries like Garrett, because they're "soft" on crims, they cost taxpayers precious dollars. Never mind the billions which will be spent on longer sentences and the new prisons required, the huge costs to society of higher crime rates and more unnecessary victims, these things are "expensive luxuries" being wasted "mollycoddling" "hardened crims".

    In a sane word, Garrett would be laughed at by major political parties for espousing failed policies, the Herald would report McVicar once or twice a year, and the National and Labour parties would actually stand up for sensible crime reduction strategies which work on the entire life-cycle of a crime.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2132 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: The Up Front Guide – How to…,

    And where would the Greens be without Sue Bradford saving all New Zealand children from child abuse?

    Where would we be without those moral crusaders, out to save innocent parents from prosecution?

    But lets have that debate again some other time soon :)

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2132 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: The Up Front Guide – How to…,

    It helps if the major opposition party is desperate to seem tougher on lawanordah.

    Cause then you've only got the Liberal Democrats or Greens to oppose the substance. And who's going to listen to Keith Locke?

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2132 posts Report Reply

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