Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Very Worst

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  • DeepRed, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    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.

    A popular joke in Ireland that emerged in the wake of the Great Recession is that if you want to rob a bank and get away with it, all you have to do is own one. A US senator testifying during the GFC debate made a similar kind of remark in Inside Job.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to DeepRed,

    They get given a bail-out and when that doesn't "work", as they continue to be stupid greedy arseholes, then they'll be given another bail-out.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    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.

    To be fair, stealing from a bank the non-white collar way does typically involve highly credible threats of severe violence to multiple people, and frequently leads to it. Death of the robbers and innocent staff or bystanders is not a common outcome of fraudulent theft. So there's a reason bank robbery carries heavy penalties - it is really a crime of violence as well as theft.

    But I'd agree that some of the punishments for fairly extreme fraud are so tiny it's ridiculous. I guess it's seen that one of the other punishments of being busted for fraud is total loss of reputation - the convicted will never hold a job again that involves being trusted. This is not insignificant. In the long run it could end up being more severe than bankruptcy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8737 posts Report Reply

  • Phil fryer,

    This issue requires a larger active lobby the the Howard league seem able to bring to the table, even just to be on the case of the revenge brigade, surely there is enuff convincing arguements,that even crime pays a better return -than jail.
    Although it will never get traction,humiliation-eg the stocks,or pain -the rattan,
    could well be a more useful deterrent, for crimes of basic stupidity,for sentence less than 12months, a strike of the cane for each months jail reduction,may well get lives more productive & focused, cant see many wanting to return for more !

    Laingholm • Since Mar 2011 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    the convicted will never hold a job again that involves being trusted

    Unless they jump the ditch with impunity like Bryers, giving the finger even to his 75 hours of community service. No wonder the smug git needed bodyguards on his visits back for court appearances.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16996 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Phil fryer,

    for crimes of basic stupidity. . .

    Our jails are full of people who seem to have been classified as criminally stupid rather than intellectually disabled.

    a strike of the cane for each months jail reduction, may well get lives more productive & focused . . .Although it will never get traction

    It's certainly being discussed.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3631 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Sacha,

    Unless they jump the ditch with impunity like Bryers, giving the finger even to his 75 hours of community service

    Plus I doubt Eric Watson is that concerned with his future employment, and we could get right back to Sir (lets kiss his arse) Michael Fay. Yes, I really see them shaking in their boots.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6358 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Phil fryer,

    Didnt work when such methods were used here & in the British Isles, and emphatically wouldnt work now.

    And Joe raises a very good point-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to BenWilson,

    Death of the robbers and innocent staff or bystanders is not a common outcome of fraudulent theft.

    However, I would be very surprised if the suicide toll of our domestic financial malfeasance scandal is not quite dramatically higher than the death toll associated with all armed robberies in NZ history.

    Armed robbery is dangerous, certainly, but let's not kid ourselves that nobody has died directly as a result of the goings-on in our finance companies. We know for certain that there have been suicides amongst the victims, and a range of terminal health effects such as cancer and cardiac problems. Which makes the pitiful sentences dished out to the offenders that much more offensive.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3934 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The only consequence so far that we know had any tangible impact were the fists of St Heliers diners on Petricevic's smug noggin.

    and a range of terminal health effects such as cancer and cardiac problems

    Seen mention in the last week somewhere in common media of a stress-related death for some investor trying to act against these suited thieves.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16996 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Armed robbery is dangerous, certainly, but let’s not kid ourselves that nobody has died directly as a result of the goings-on in our finance companies. We know for certain that there have been suicides amongst the victims, and a range of terminal health effects such as cancer and cardiac problems. Which makes the pitiful sentences dished out to the offenders that much more offensive.

    As always, there is a beautiful (and grim) moment in a Terry Pratchett book where a financial fraudster, who lives with himself by assuming that he's not really hurting people, just taking their money, is told how many people's deaths, firings, and sundry minor miseries he must have contributed to over the years.

    In any case, I don't think anyone's arguing that violent bank robberies shouldn't incur high penalties, but rather that the non-violent type should.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    I don’t think anyone’s arguing that violent bank robberies shouldn’t incur high penalties, but rather that the non-violent type should.

    The problem is, if there is no extra penalty for violence in the act of a crime then there is no disincentive for committing violence as well as the crime you are already committing.

    However, since we also know that the severity of the punishment has not much influence on the decision to commit a crime then this argument becomes false.

    Since the likelyhood of being caught is the critical factor then somehow we need to convince criminals that including violence in their offense will result in more effort being spent on catching them. That is actually the case already but it is not well advertised, maybe a marketing campaign is needed ...

    Nick her wallet and slow Joe will be on your case
    Punch her as well and smart young Debbie and three other top academy graduates will hound you till the day you die

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3472 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Don't forget to watch the show this evening -- 9.05pm, TVNZ 7.

    After we finished recording, Roger Brooking told me something that made me madder than anything that's actually in the show.

    Corrections dental policy is "pain-relief only". Meaning they don't actually treat even severe dental problems.

    This is:

    (a) Cruel. Obviously.

    (b) Completely insane. Untreated dental problems expose the people who suffer them to any number of other, potentially severe, health problems. For which we as taxpayers eventually pay a lot more money than we would have spent in the first place just fixing prisoners' teeth.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    In any case, I don't think anyone's arguing that violent bank robberies shouldn't incur high penalties, but rather that the non-violent type should.

    Except probably the Howard League for Penal Reform.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Corrections dental policy is "pain-relief only".

    Plenty of material there for the blackboard wise-ass at Richard Long's favourite Ngaio espresso pit.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3631 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Untreated dental problems expose the people who suffer them to any number of other, potentially severe, health problems. For which we as taxpayers eventually pay a lot more money than we would have spent in the first place just fixing prisoners' teeth.

    Mind you, couldn't you probably say much the same for the general populace?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to 3410,

    Indeed - that's the same treatment that's offered in our public health sytem right now, with triage addressed by making poor people line up outside from about 5am before the doors open a few hours later.

    Untreated dental problems expose the people who suffer them to any number of other, potentially severe, health problems. For which we as taxpayers eventually pay a lot more money than we would have spent in the first place

    Yes. You may recall Jim Anderton campaigning a couple of elections ago to spend 1b to address the nation's adult dental health. We can all see the outcome of that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16996 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to 3410,

    Untreated dental problems expose the people who suffer them to any number of other, potentially severe, health problems. For which we as taxpayers eventually pay a lot more money than we would have spent in the first place just fixing prisoners' teeth.

    Mind you, couldn't you probably say much the same for the general populace?

    The general populace has a choice, and would likely act faster than someone being denied a basic medical treatment. Maybe prisoners would have a case with the HDC? Or the Human Rights Commissioner.

    Periodontal disease for example has long been associated with Heart Disease and mortality.

    This seems, as Russell said, cruel and unusual punishment.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2175 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Sacha,

    Indeed - that's the same treatment that's offered in our public health sytem right now, with triage addressed by making poor people line up outside from about 5am before the doors open a few hours later.

    Seems there could be a lot of complaints in the offing, but yes, I've heard about this too.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2175 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Corrections dental policy is “pain-relief only”. Meaning they don’t actually treat even severe dental problems.

    Which neatly ties in to my observation of society’s obsession with attacking the symptom. That's one catch-phrase that David Shearer could potentially use to reframe the debate, and not just on law & order.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to JacksonP,

    The general populace has a choice

    ones with enough money to afford a private dentist, yes.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16996 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Except probably the Howard League for Penal Reform.

    Well, probably not.

    Periodontal disease for example has long been associated with Heart Disease and mortality.

    This seems, as Russell said, cruel and unusual punishment.

    Forget the associations (which are strong enough) - untreated abscesses in the upper jaw can flat-out kill you, if they penetrate to the brain. At a minimum, they need to be offering basic preventative and reconstructive care.

    Serious question - I wonder what they do about prisoners with worsening myopia, if they aren't doing dental treatment? Reading glasses are relatively cheap and accessible, even if friends or family outside have to buy them, but fixing short-sightedness isn't.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Sacha,

    ones with enough money to afford a private dentist, yes.

    Being imprisoned by poverty is probably another discussion, but it is a valid one. Having had two fillings at a cost of $815 recently, your point is well made.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2175 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris,

    The cold hard truth is that for many New Zealanders they believe that people are sent to prison for punishment rather than as a punishment.

    I must be thick. What's the diff?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Scott Chris,

    I must be thick. What's the diff?

    Incarceration IS the punishment.

    Poor conditions and lack of access to basic human needs is adding another level of punishment, which isn't how it's supposed to work. At least AFAIK.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2175 posts Report Reply

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