Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Will this Criminologist Debate the Issues?

Will this Criminologist Debate the Issues?

Monday 2 Sep 2002 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Crime & Justice -- Zero Tolerance for Crime


"ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks called for criminologist Dr John Pratt to publicly debate his "tougher sentences don't work" theories. The Victoria University of Wellington academic issued a release today deploring the fact that "an increasingly anxious and insecure public has demanded greater involvement in penal affairs," taking control away from the academics and bureaucratic experts.

"Dr Pratt's media release will attract attention because it attacks politicians without naming them. As one of his targets I sincerely hope he will debate the issues publicly instead of just firing shots from the top of the ivory tower.

"I want to read Dr Pratt's book. If he has evidence to show getting tough on crime doesn't work, he will have a world beater. The criminologists keep telling each other that it won't work. The anointed who have had control of penal policy (and media comment on it) keep saying that everyone knows that it doesn't work. But apparently the criminals in the US who committed a third less crime last year than 10 years ago haven't yet heard them.

"I have been trying to get to the bottom of this "everyone knows" belief. I followed up a claim by a VUW criminologist during the election campaign that longer sentences may even worsen crime. She admitted there was no study that established it. She said it was based on her "long experience".

"Victoria University risks becoming a nest for reactionary criminologists - refugees from the growing awareness elsewhere of the stunning success of US criminal justice reforms. Cutting crime by more than a third has blighted academics' theories and careers. Their remaining criticism is that to cut crime, too many criminals have to be locked up. Precisely!

"They dismiss the US achievement on the grounds that no-one would want to copy their numbers in prison. Four thousand more New Zealanders were beaten, bashed and robbed last year than if we had kept our violent crime figures at 1999 levels when the Labour government took power. They and their families might think that more criminals in prison was a price well worth paying.

"The real test of the US law reforms will be in say 10 years time. Then the staggering one-third drop in violent youth crime will have filtered through to reduce recruitment to prison. That is the only honest way to reduce both crime and prison musters. Because prison does not reform. Once criminals are hardened we can only lock them up until they get too old to offend.

"If the academic criminologists who decide the Labour government's criminal justice policy have their way, New Zealand will achieve the worst of all possible worlds - much longer sentences because the people will insist on it, but no reduction in crime because the anointed controlling the prisons and the parole system keep apologising for punishment," Mr Franks said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Dutton 'Gone': Time For Australia To Reconsider On Refugees

Hard line Australian immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s move to the backbench should reopen a conversation about refugees on Nauru coming to New Zealand, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman has said today.

“Australia has a unique opportunity now that Peter Dutton has moved to the backbench.

“There are 119 children on Nauru who are languishing in despair. Every day spent in detention is another day robbed of their childhood and a safe and nurturing environment.” More>>

 

Ardern Speech: Justice Summit Opens

If we want to talk about an effective justice system, we shouldn’t start with a discussion about prisons, but a discussion about New Zealand... More>>

ALSO:

NZDF: New Chiefs Of Navy, Army And Air Force

“I’m delighted to announce that following approval by Cabinet, Commodore David Proctor, Brigadier John Boswell and Air Commodore Andrew Clark have been appointed by the Governor-General to lead their respective Services,” says Ron Mark. More>>

ALSO:

Christchurch Quake: New Red Zone Payment For Uninsured

The Government will pay former residential red zone owners 100% of the 2007/08 rateable value for uninsured homes, Minister Megan Woods has announced today. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On MP Pay And The REAL P.C. Danger Zone

There has never been anything remotely credible about the way parliamentarians would paint themselves as the helpless victims of the Remuneration Authority when it came to their pay increases... More>>

ALSO:

Repatriation: Remains Of NZ Service People Return Home

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Veterans Ron Mark say they were honoured to be with the families of service personnel as they welcomed their loved ones home. More>>

ALSO:

Cop Shop Top-Up: 1800 New Police Through NZ

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has today confirmed further details around the allocation of the 1800 additional officers, following a $298.8 million increase for Police in Budget 2018... “These 1800 officers, alongside 485 support staff, will really enhance our work to keep people safe, and ensure they feel safe,” says Mr Bush. More>>

ALSO:

Human Right Commissions: Concern On Aged Care And Consent

A new report published by the Human Rights Commission raises concerns about the legal and human rights safeguards for an estimated 5000 elderly New Zealanders in secure dementia units and psychogeriatric facilities. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages